Vail Daily obituary: Gail Dunning |

Vail Daily obituary: Gail Dunning

You were fortunate if you knew Gail B. Dunning. If you did, you would have experienced her genuine kindness, dignity, gentle grace, determination, fluid intelligence, dry wit, love for Colorado history and natural beauty, endless curiosity, compassion, inspiring courage, integrity and vitality of spirit.

Gail transitioned suddenly early Saturday morning, Sept. 3, at her Leadville cabin. A seizure is believed to be the cause of death. She made the transition peacefully and quickly, with her two fur babies, Zeva, the heeler, and Sir Thomas, the Siamese, by her side.

For having such a petite frame, Gail was a human dynamo. She was born in Greenville, North Carolina, and spent her childhood living in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Indiana. Gail excelled in everything she touched — art, writing, languages, scholastics, music, photography, athletics and business. From grade school through high school, she participated in virtually every special activity offered; she was a human sponge for experiences and knowledge. She received love and care during her summers from her Aunt Katie in Pennsylvania, who owned and ran a coal mine.

Gail attended Drake University, where she was the president of Chi Omega sorority. She graduated from the School of Journalism with high honors. At Drake, she met Kit Williams, who became her husband in 1982.

During her adult life, she pursued her love for business. She received her Masters in business administration from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs while working full time. During her years in Vail, she was a publicist, curator of antiques, entrepreneur in property management and retail, avid winter skier, skydiver, scuba and snorkeling enthusiast and a successful businesswoman.

Gail called Vail her home, but The Historic Hotel Delaware, in Leadville, was her passion. She transformed the old 1886 hotel into a thriving, fully operational historic hotel filled with antiques, art and vintage clothing. It was her dream to create a living historical interactive experience for guests. She worked tirelessly to give Leadville a source of historic pride and to develop the community’s businesses and government.

Toward the end of her life, the demands of the hotel were very taxing on her, physically and spiritually. It was clear to those who knew her well that her dwindling energy was channeled into the hotel.

Gail was also a deeply spiritual person. She had a closeness with the spirit world and listened to her guides. With her passing, she assures us we are to be happy for her.

She is rejuvenated and wishes all of us support Kit in the years to come.

From your friends, co-workers, family and husband, thank you, Gail, for being such a remarkable person and for touching our lives. You rarely thought of yourself, but always considered the needs of others, yet were unaware of the magnitude of your gifts to others. You are missed.

Gail is survived by her husband, Kit C. Williams, of Vail; and her sister, Loraine Dunning-Cavallo of Wellington, Florida. Her father, Preston Markham Dunning Jr., M.D., her mother, Barbara Temyer Dunning, and her brother, First Lt. David Michael Dunning, U.S. Army, preceded her in death.

A memorial celebration will be determined at a later date. Any contributions in Gail’s name would be appreciated by her favorite organization, St. Jude’s Children’s Research, at

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