Employee profile: Gayle Adams

Gayle Adams

To know Gayle Adams is to know her family.  Gayle brings her love of family and people to her job at Grand Rapids State Bank.

Gayle recently accepted a new assignment at GRSB: account services representative at the main bank office.  The common denominator of the jobs she has held in the 24 years she has worked at the bank is her interaction with people.  She thrives on that.

“I like and enjoy working with people,” said Gayle. “I take care and pride in building solid working relationships with our customers.  This has always been my bank, even before I worked here.  Grand Rapids State Bank has the reputation of being cordial and welcoming, and it suits my style.”

Gayle Bartz grew up in Grand Rapids and met her eventual husband, Dale Adams, through a church youth group scavenger hunt at the Gospel Ranch in Goodland.  “I wasn’t overly impressed when we first met as 14-year olds,” said Gayle.  “I thought he was a hood and he thought I was uppity. However, a couple of years later, things changed, and we began dating when we were juniors in high school.”  It’s been 41 years and counting; they’ll celebrate their 42nd anniversary this December.

As you get to know Gayle, you can’t help but learn more about several Grand Rapids and Cohasset families.  Those families have been crucial in helping one of Gayle and Dale’s grandchildren, Mila, recover from a recent bout with cancer.

“I remember Grandparents’ Day—May 6, 2011— at Forest Lake School very clearly,” Gayle recalls.  “I was there for a program the school planned, and Mila was walking toward me, holding her forehead and complaining about a headache.” 

After being treated for what was initially diagnosed as a migraine, the following morning a CAT scan showed a “spot” on her brain.  Mila’s parents, Kirk and Roni, took her to Minneapolis, and two days later specialists during a 6.5-hour surgery removed a golf-ball sized tumor from her brain.  Gayle explains that things couldn’t have fallen into place more perfectly, especially considering how little time there was to prepare.  However, the diagnosis was an anaplastic medullablastoma, an aggressive stage-four brain cancer.

A few months after surgery, Mila traveled to Boston for special proton-beam radiation treatment and chemotherapy.  The treatment lasted eight weeks, and Roni spent the entire time with Mila.  Kirk and the boys and other family members spent parts of those weeks with the two of them as often as they could. 

“The community embraced Mila’s condition and our family in a huge way,” said Gayle, “and I don’t know that I can say enough about that.”  Even though she has told this story many times, her description of the community outpouring of support in the form of prayers, love and money is laced with emotion.

“Our extended family—the Adams, Bartzes, Cornells, Dimiches, Amborns—and our church (the West Cohasset Chapel) and friends and the community at large couldn’t have been more supportive,” said Gayle.  Pink ‘Mila’ ribbons and bumper stickers sprouted on cars and windows throughout town as fundraisers were organized to help Kirk and Roni cope with the additional expenses for treating their daughter’s cancer.

Gayle is quick to point out how she and Dale devote as much time as they can to the entire clan of six grandchildren.  “We have movie outings with the grandchildren as often as we can, and we have bikes of every size and configuration in our garage,” said Gayle.  “Dale and I have purchased sports passes for ourselves and the grandchildren for the entire school year, and they accompany us as much as possible.  We start with football in the fall, but then it’s on to wrestling, basketball and hockey.”

Gayle and Dale also lead active community lives, even when those activities don’t involve grandchildren.  Gayle currently volunteers as a reading tutor for the Reading Corps program at Forest Lake Elementary School, a role she thoroughly enjoys.  Her husband is a fixture in the community, too.  After a 34-year career at Minnesota Power’s Clay-Boswell Generation Facility in Cohasset, Dale was elected to a seat on the Grand Rapids City Council.  He went on to run for mayor, a position he has held for three terms. 

Their two sons, Kirk and Kyle, live in the Grand Rapids area.  Kirk is an officer at Deerwood Bank while Kyle works at Minnesota Power.  Their wives are also Grand Rapids natives (Roni Dimich and Bobbi Peltier, respectively), so the family networks extend broadly throughout the community. 

“Dale and I believe in miracles,” Gayle said, “and we believe in the power of prayer and prayer chains.  We witnessed our son, Kyle’s, miraculous recovery from a head injury suffered in a car accident in August, 1995.  Now we are living with and witnessing a miracle with Mila: as of this February, she is a one-year post cancer treatment survivor.”

Gayle’s broader family includes her coworkers at Grand Rapids State Bank.  “This is an interesting, rewarding place to work,” added Gayle, “and the bank has given me an opportunity to support my family in many ways.”

Adams family

The Adams family (clockwise, from upper left: Kyle, Mila, Dale, Gayle, Emma, Kirk, Roni, Branik,Colten, Kyler and Bobbi).

Adams readers

Dale and Gayle and grandchildren  posed for a Reading Corps poster to promote early child literacy.  

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