Mary Gay Springer
February 19, 1945 – June 4, 2020
Mary Gay Springer passed away peacefully and surrounded by family at Tacoma General Hospital on Thursday, June 4th. Gay, also known as “Ginger” to some, was born in Moscow, ID on 19 February 1945 to James G. Springer and Mary E. Harland Springer. She is survived by her three children; Willie, Christine, and Desta, four grandchildren; Vanessa, Shanice, Danielle, and Amaya, three great grandchildren; Imoni, Elijah, and Trenton, her only sister; Sherry Rae and only niece; Emily.
Gay mastered several occupations but sewing was her passion. She was a self-taught custom seamstress and tailor that learned how to sew at age 10 with her grandmother. She later translated her design skills in engineering into a full-time fashion business in Spokane in 1985. She did custom work for many small boutiques, Nordstrom, private clients and friends and family that were lucky enough to have her as their personal seamstress. Sewing became part time work when Boeing came to Spokane, but she never stopped sewing.
Retiring from Boeing and relocating to Tacoma to be closer to her children, Gay became active in many neighborhood activities and initiatives. She served on several local boards and advisory groups and was responsible for the “Welcome to Hilltop” signs you see as you enter the Hilltop neighborhood. She was proud of her ability to assist in obtaining funding for The Peoples Community Swimming Pool that reopened in 2016 and to donate her time and materials to other local projects and organizations like Ali’s Prom Project that provides prom dresses to teens without financial resources to do so on their own.
Besides her family, Gay loved vintage designer fashion, antiques, rhythm & blues, Marlena Dietrich, and “Ginger” Rogers.
A celebration of life for close friends and family will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in honor of Gay to any of these organizations:
People’s Pool (Metro Parks Tacoma) https://www.metroparkstacoma.org/about/support-us/
Color of Change for Racial Justice https://colorofchange.org/
Ali’s Prom Project https://www.alispromproject.org/
What a life to lose. I met you through Desta my bestie. You raised some pretty awesome kids and I’m fond of them all. I’ll never forget how I was lucky enough to some custom work of your for my preemie twins, you always jumped right in to help, and my best memory was when we were watching the nba finals at Willie’s we had a lot of fun amd bonded a lil that night. You will be missed always Rest Easy Miss Gay!
My condolence to Christine, Willie and Desta. Know that I am keeping in you in my prayers. Your mom was an awesome person may she rest in peace.
I am deeply saddened to read of Gay’s passing. Just today I was thinking that i hadn’t heard from her in a while and I should check in. I met her through her business — she beautifully altered many garments for me and made some from scratch — but we talked of so many other things, especially politics. I admired her skills, her love of sewing and fashion, her passion for justice, her love of the Hilltop community. Oh, Gay, you will be sorely missed.
One of the hardest things about the last few months is the inability to come together in times of mourning. When it’s safe to do so, I look forward to joining others in celebrating Gay’s extraordinary life.
Ginger and I shared many inspiring conversations about designer fashions and sewing. In fact, she constantly inspired me to sew more. Her alteration skills were exceptional. We enjoyed many bowls of pho’ together talking sewing and fashion. The other topic she was passionate about was her kids and family. I miss my special friend.
I am saddened with Gay’s passing. She is my cousin and we had only found each other in the last few months after losing track of one another for decades. It has been a joy seeing photographs of her and her family, as well as exchanging messages with her. What a great history she has created. I only wish we had more time. We look forward to celebrating her lfe.
Gay and I were best friends in high school. We had great adventures and fun mischief. Sorry to hear she has died.
So sorry for the passing of Gay. She made me a beautiful cape, and every time I wear it I think of her and how talented and gracious she was? RIP dearest.
So sorry to hear of the passing of Gay. I got to know her through our love of vintage clothing. I will think of her and many talents. She will be dearly missed.
I am so very sorry for your loss. I absolutely adored Gay and am so sad about this. She will be greatly missed. May she rest in peace.
Please email and/or call me about her celebration of life @ (253) 229-9632.
Kind Regards, KC