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Gayle Helene Tabron


January 1, 1953 – May 13, 2024

Gayle Helene Tabron, beloved mother, grandmother, sister, and friend, transitioned on May 13th, 2024, at the Levine & Dickson Hospice House at Aldersgate in Charlotte, NC, following a brief illness. Gayle was born on January 1st, 1953, to the late Emma and James Ford in Washington, DC.

Gayle’s childhood was spent in Washington, DC and Cleveland, OH where she lived with her maternal grandmother, the late Marion G. Hawkins. She was educated in Catholic schools in both cities and attended Erieview Catholic High School in Cleveland, OH. She relocated back to Washington, DC at the age of 19 and obtained her GED.

She began her career in IT as a key punch operator for Booz Allen and Hamilton. Later becoming a contractor for the federal government, taking a position as Tape Librarian at the Federal Aviation Administration. Her career spanned more than two decades with multiple agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Defense. She worked in the Pentagon, like her maternal grandmother and was present during the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Though her work was technical, Gayle expressed her creativity through many hobbies that began in childhood, including sewing, painting, decorating, and refinishing furniture. Gayle also developed a passion for gardening and flowers. It was common for her to share her knowledge and love of flowers with friends, and her grandchildren have all been garden helpers. She found solitude and relaxation in a hot bath and a good book.

            Maintaining many friendships for several decades, Gayle's many close friends were more like family. Those friendships made up the village that supported her in raising her daughters, Nakiya and Ayanna. Friends often joked that Gayle and the girls looked small but ate BIG!

Gayle and the girls joined Trinity A.M.E. Zion Church in DC at the encouragement of the late, Jacob and Annie Bigelow, who she regarded as surrogate parents. In 1992, Gayle married and, though not a permanent union, it resulted in the birth of her youngest daughter, Nayo. Gayle was a survivor who worked hard and made many sacrifices to make a comfortable life for her and her girls.

In 2005, Gayle relocated to Charlotte to care for her grandmother Marion until her death in 2009. There, she continued to build community, joining Little Rock A.M.E. Zion Church and becoming their office assistant for nearly 15 years. Gayle also served on multiple ministries, including Culinary, Flower, and Cultural & Heritage Awareness Weekend.

A true fashionista! Gayle’s beauty and style caused her to be sought after as a model in her youth and well into adulthood. Gayle had a style like no other, making trendy hats and mismatched earrings fashionable and high heels look comfortable. She had a beauty that could pull off most hairstyles – long or short. Many wanted to mimic her style but felt they could never look as classy. Gayle had a bright smile, quick wit, and a sense of humor that will be missed.

            She was preceded in death by her parents - James Ford & Emma Ford-Collins, and her grandparents - Marion G. Hawkins & Charles Green and Jesse & Alice Ford. She leaves to mourn - her daughters, Nakiya Cohen (Brenda McCrae), Ayanna Scott and Nayo Tabron; siblings - Carlton Ford (Bea), El Collins (Marie), Anita Brown, Maria Collins and Daniel Collins; grandchildren - Aniya Scott, Najiid Scott-McRae, Amara Tabron, Laurice and Christopher McCrae; great-granddaughters - Mila Scott and Kali Brooks and a host of family and close friends.