March 26, 1943 – December 29, 2012

Jay Gelzer, our sister and friend, died at home on December 29th, 2012, after a brief battle with suddenly recurring cancer.


When I die
I want my bones to smell like
spring rain
and shine like the moon.
In fact, I want that now.

–Jay Gelzer


Jay was a Clinical Psychologist with a private practice in Seattle. She was also a gifted writer who belonged to the Northwest Haiku Society, a harpist, and a swimmer who enjoyed the tranquility of life on her Lake Union houseboat. Tragically, she was preceded in death by her son, Connor Ireland, 23, who was killed in a motorcycle accident on Aug. 18, 2012.

Jay’s obituary, which contains some of her haiku poems, appeared in the Seattle Times on January 20, 2013: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/seattletimes/obituary.aspx?n=jay-gelzer&pid=162526739. On that site, you can read and sign her guest book.

A few of Jay’s many friends share their memories of her below.

From Sharon Nations

I knew Jay for over 28 years.  In the many roles I knew her to play in life–therapist, teacher, spiritual seeker, consultant, confidant, friend, she was a woman of uncommon gentleness and grace.  She was a deep thinker and had amazing empathy for others.  When I last spoke to her on December 18, 2012, she knew she was near the end of her life.  She was calm, focused, and said she was busily calling her clients and closing up her office.  She told me that she felt ready to leave this life, that she had accomplished her life’s purpose.  She seemed at peace.  I feel blessed to have known her and my life was certainly enriched by our long relationship.

From Jeannie Boag

I feel honored to have known Jay, who possessed a quiet charisma, a gentle caring manner, and great inner strength. She was upbeat and positive despite the many great difficulties and tragedies she experienced over the past few years. In Women’s SIG, she lovingly shared her much-needed psychological wisdom with us. Hers always was the voice of reason when we needed it most, and I treasure my memories of her.

From Martha Rhoda:

I love how Jay bounced from profound to playful and back again. I remember her quip about her first round of breast cancer and her indignation, nay, outrage about it:  “What’s with this?! What about all the veggies I ate??”

What a pleasure and privilege to have experienced her ready wit, boundless empathy and radiant spirit.

From Claire Anderson:

Jay, telling about yet another crisis while joking about it. Slapping her thighs, laughing about what Central Casting has sent to her. She was so wise when any one of us was in pain or confusion. She was so happy that her son was maturing and responding to her love — and then so sad when he left. Now they are together.

Rest in Peace. Always with you.

From Robin Dalmas

Life hurled so much abuse at Jay — hip surgery gone wrong, breast cancer, the unbelievably tragic loss of her son just as he was turning his life around and the mother-son bond was blossoming anew. Life was so unfair to Jay, yet she always rose above it with wisdom and self-effacing humor. I’m reminded of a hike we took together:

When Women’s Sig celebrated its 20th anniversary by taking a cruise from Seattle to Nanaimo and Victoria, I went on a shore excursion with Jay and other friends. Even though she was still hobbling a bit from hip surgery gone awry, we hiked through an old-growth forest of 800-year-old Douglas firs within Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park. Jay was like one of those beautiful stately trees. She towered above the darkness, dignified, gracious, and undeterred by the endless succession of storms in her life. She was a role model whom I will sorely miss.

 From Pam Tucker

The first time I met Jay was at my first WoSIG meeting aboard her houseboat.  This seemed, to me, a most romantic life, and while I never in my wildest dreams thought I might live on a houseboat, I still remember the thrill of being a guest in Jay’s unique home.  Jay always seemed to be someone in whom great wisdom was stored.  To me, she had the air of a guru.  I admired that.  She was at my going-away party when I left Washington. An amazing first meeting, a much appreciated last.  Goodbye, Jay.

From Susan Brown

Friend and sister, you are an inspiration to us all. We miss your deep insights and thoughtful observations. Bon Voyage.



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