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Gayl Bertagni, R.I.P.

The Swiss and Tacoma mourns our lost mother and freind

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This Memorial Day weekend was the most tragic and the very worst for everyone in Tacoma because we lost someone who was so important to so many people.

Tears immediately streamed down my face last Saturday when I read an e-mail letting me know that Gayl Bertagni, one of the co-owners of the Swiss, had passed away in a horrible accident near Packwood.

Right after receiving this devastating news I started to worry about the hundreds of individuals that Gayl took care of, and everyone who loved her so much in return.

Gayl was a mother to each and every one of us, and there will never be a finer woman. Her beauty was equal to her kindness, her infectious laughter was paired with the shimmer in her sparkling eyes, and her hugs were as caring as her heart that was open to all.

She also wasn’t like any typical business owner. You could always find Gayl in the kitchen at the Swiss with her sleeves rolled up, and people worked for and with her for years, some a decade or more, because just being in her presence felt wonderful, and it was an honor.

My heart aches most of all for my little bird, Bianca, because I understand how horrible and unfair it is to lose a loving mother. Gayl and Bianca were two peas in a perfect pod. I loved hearing about their vacation adventures; one of the highlights of my week was visiting them at the Downtown Farmers Market where they sold and always ran out of delicious and healthy food with fun and spitfire conversations; and I always held the hope that they’d open a restaurant together. B, please, please know that we love you and we’re all here to help and support you.

Our hearts here at the Weekly Volcano also go out each family member, everyone at the Swiss and Tacoma overall because we’ve lost someone who was so sweet, incredible and special.

Her memorial will take place this Saturday at the Swiss, starting at 3 p.m. While some food will be provided, since so many are expected to attend, guests are asked to bring a special plate that they would’ve liked to share with Gayl. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Emergency Food Network and also support our local farmers.

I wish I knew why people are suddenly taken from us so I could understand why we’re all being forced to endure the awful pain and suffering that comes from losing such an important member of our community.

The only thing I’m left with now is the knowledge that Gayl’s legacy will live on forever and I’m also sure that the following is so very true:

Heaven is a much better place now that Gayl is there.

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