July 8, 1963 – January 28, 2012
CILS is very saddened to share that former CILS Legal Assistant, Beth Wylie Gjerstad, passed away on January 28, 2012 after a long and hard-fought battle with stage IV metastatic breast cancer. Beth began her eight-year tenure with CILS in 2002 and departed in 2010 to devote her strength towards battling the disease. Her warm spirit and dedication to family and friends will always be a source of inspiration for all who knew Beth. From her first day at CILS, when she wore her stunning navy blue suit, Beth carried herself with professionalism and consistently showed her enthusiasm for our Native client communities. During her tenure at CILS, Beth assisted our Escondido Office attorneys on countless numbers of cases. Happy to work behind the scenes Beth could always be counted on for a smile, even on those most difficult days. “During the most stressful times at the office, one smile from Beth and you knew things were going to get better,” remembers a co-worker. While Beth resided in Southern California for many years, she was fiercely proud of her Seattle roots and had recently moved home to be near her family. CILS Staff remembers her love of telling a good story, whether it was about her learning experiences at Shoreline Community College where she studied law enforcement, her take on a t.v. episode of Intervention, stories about her dog, Inga, or her latest attempted recipe. As a single parent, Beth made innumerable sacrifices and always tried to improve as a parent. She once wrote, “I don’t think my kids know how much I really love them and I want to be better at showing that.” But her love and care, especially of her girls, was most evident. Beth is survived by her daughters Becca and Sarah, her son Bryan and her grandson Bailey. A memorial fund to support her daughters is being established in Beth’s honor. Those who wish to make donations can contact Patricia De La Cruz-Lynas at firstname.lastname@example.org. A memorial service for Beth is currently being planned (details to be posted as appropriate).