Gayla G. Fredrickson, 58 of Elgin, NE died Sunday, July 5, 2009 at the Boone County Health Center in Albion, NE following a battle with cancer. A Celebration of Life memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Thursday at the United Methodist Church in Elgin, NE. The family will be receiving friends from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday at the Elgin High School Gymnasium, with a prayer service being held at 7:30 p.m. A graveside service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, July 11, 2009 at the Pine Slope Cemetery in Belle Fourche, SD, with the family receiving friends from 9:00-10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Funeral Home of the Northern Hills in Belle Fourche, SD. Memorials are suggested to the Elgin Scholarship Fund Drive or the Elgin United Methodist Church Fund.Dr. Gayla G. (Gilger) DeCock Fredrickson was born January 21, 1951 to Douglas and Fidelia (Tope) Gilger in Belle Fourche, SD. Gayla and her two brothers were raised on a sheep ranch 30 miles north of Belle Fourche, SD until her parents bought a ranch in Montana when she was nine. They took up residence in Powder River County, MT where she graduated in 1968.Gayla attended Miltonvale Wesleyan College her freshman year, then transferred to Black Hills State University where she graduated in August 1971 with a Bachelors of Science in Teaching with a major in English and a minor in instrumental music. One of her fondest memories was teaching at the Capitol School and celebrating her 21st birthday with her students.On August 16, 1970, Gayla married Carl C. DeCock from Harlowton, MT. The couple made their home on the ranch north of Belle Fourche where they had two daughters: Melora June on December 10, 1972; and Leleila Faith on January 9, 1974. This life was shattered when Carl was killed in an accident on November 26, 1974. After taking time off, Gayla reentered the teaching field in the fall of 1975, teaching in Powder River County, MT for the next four years. On December 23, 1977 she married Ernest James (Jim) Fredrickson in the Belle Fourche Wesleyan Church. In January 1978, the couple bought a farm on Horse Creek near Newell, SD, which they still own today. The couple had three Children: Steven James on July 10, 1979; Echo Fern on December 25, 1981; Kelcey Irene on December 29, 1986. They continued to live on the farm while Gayla pursued a Master’s degree in Administration and taught full-time for the Newell School District. Gayla received her Master’s in Administration in November 1987 from South Dakota State University. She accepted her first principalship in the fall of 1988 at Wood, SD, where the family made their home for two years. The next four years were spent in Lake Andes, SD where Gayla served as elementary principle and special education director. During this time she also pursued her Specialist of Education and Doctorate of Education degrees at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. Gayla and eldest daughter Melora had the rare honor of receiving degrees together in December of 1994: Gayla with her Doctorate in Education and Melora with a Bachelors of Science in Music. With her new Educational Doctorate, Gayla took a position as Superintendent and Elementary Principle at Edgemont, SD. She remained there two years until a new post in Hay Springs, NE came calling. The family lived in Hay Springs for four years, and then moved to Brookings, SD where Gayla took a position as a full educational professor at South Dakota State University for a year. Missing the day-to-day interaction with teachers and the students that she loved, Gayla, Jim and Kelsey moved to Elgin in 2001 to be Superintendent at Elgin and Ewing schools. Since that time, Gayla met a great number of educational milestones. The Elgin School District opened the Early Learning Center for 3 and 4 year olds, a new agricultural program, a new electronics program, and several developments to build a tighter technology program. Gayla held offices as President for the Northern Tier, and President and Secretary of the Niobrara Valley Conference. Gayla always felt the moves across SD and NE were productive in so many ways; she said in each place they landed, their crew managed to pick up the brightest and the best of each place to add to the family: Bryon from LeMars, IA; Robert from Lake Andes, SD; Angela from Hay Springs; Scott from Chadron, NE. Gayla spent many hours in the summer tending to home and garden projects that made their home bloom with flowers and greenery. Gayla’s green thumb meant that many indoor and outdoor plants thrived year-round. Never one to sit still, Gayla kept busy with building projects each year to improve their home in Elgin along with countless craft projects. On Sunday, July 5, 2009, Gayla died at the Boone County Health Center in Albion, NE after a battle with cancer. She is survived by her husband of 31 years, Jim Fredrickson of Elgin, NE; son Steven (Angela) Fredrickson of Black Hawk, SD; daughters: Melora (Bryon) Hirschman of Norfolk, NE; Leleila (Robert) Kniffen of Canton, SD; Echo Fredrickson of Atlanta, GA; Kelcey (Scott) Roberts of Laramie, WY; mother, Fidelia Gilger of Belle Fourche, SD; brothers: Dusty Gilger of Broadus, MT; Dan Gilger of Belle Fourche, SD; mothers-in-law: Hilda Fern Fredrickson of Broadus, MT; Kathleen DeCock of Harlowton, MT; three granddaughters and three grandsons. Gayla was preceded in death by her father Douglas D. Gilger on May 10, 1989; husband Carl C. DeCock on November 26, 1974; and various aunts, uncles, and cousins.