Mary Gayle Hafner was born June 4, 1953, to James A. and Frances C. Hafner of Hannibal, Missouri.

Mary Gayle Hafner was born June 4, 1953, to James A. and Frances C. Hafner of Hannibal, Missouri.

Gayle passed away at 1:50 p.m. March 22, 2014, at St. Joseph Hospital in Towson, Maryland, from surgical complications.

Survivors include her husband, Crosby King, of Towson, Maryland; her mother, Frances C. Hafner-Roberts of Stroudsburg, PA,; and siblings, Jennifer (Hafner) and Richard Poole of Stroudsburg, PA, James A. Hafner, Jr. of Marathon, FL, and Robert C. Hafner of Lee’s Summit, MO.

Also surviving are aunts and uncles, Margaret Anne Stribling, Conroe, TX, Sherman and Mary Hafner of Indian Trail, NC, Charles Yates and Gail Hafner of River Forest, IL; and many loving nieces, nephews and cousins.

In 1965 she was the Missouri Easter Seal Child, in 1971 attended University of Illinois, Champagne, IL, for an undergrad degree in Classical Civilizations and Law School graduating in 1979.

As an attorney, she practiced law with the AmeriCorps Vista from 1979-1981.

Gayle then returned to Hannibal in 1981 and practiced with Legal Aid of Northeast MO. She founded “Hafner House,” AVENUES battered women and children’s shelter, which rapidly grew to other states as an ideal safe haven for women and children around the country.

In 1985, Gayle moved to Hugo, OK, working with Legal Services for the eastern part of Oklahoma. In 1987, she moved to Baltimore, MD, and was a Staff Attorney for the Legal Aid Bureau.

She admitted a case before the United States Supreme Court and served as an Administrative Law Judge in Towson, MD. Her entire life was spent advocating for those who could not represent themselves.

She was serving as a Senior Attorney at Maryland Disability Law Center in Baltimore, MD, at the time of her death.

Memorial donations may be made to Maryland ADAPT, Attention Crosby King, 302 E. Joppa Rd. #1710, Towson, Maryland 21206.

Donations may be made online at