Cover photo for Gayle Joanne Kil's Obituary
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1953 Gayle 2023

Gayle Joanne Kil

May 16, 1953 — January 13, 2023


Gayle Joanne (Marshall) Kil, supportive mother and friend, grandma par excellence, and one tough broad, left this life on January 13, 2023.

She was born in Keokuk, IA on May 16, 1953, to William H. Marshall and Joan Donnelly Marshall Hays. Her cleverness and strong work ethic were developed in her youth. She tricked her mother (albeit briefly) into thinking she’d eaten her peas by smuggling them into the heating register, and she helped her grandparents on their farm in the summers.

In 1971, Gayle graduated from Hamilton High School in, you guessed it, Hamilton, IL. Soon after, she met her match in heart and mind, Richard Z. Kil of Chicago. They were married in 1973 and eventually settled in Portage, MI, where they started their business and family, and spent the rest of their lives.

Gayle completed her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences at Western Michigan University in 1978. She worked for many years as a medical technologist, first at Bronson Methodist Hospital (Kalamazoo), then at Bronson Lakeview Hospital (Paw Paw) until her retirement in 2018. She made lifelong friends with a number of her fellow lab techs, who remember her as a quick wit, an expert chemist, and kind to her patients.

Gayle said her proudest accomplishment was rearing her two sons, Dave and Nate, and investing many volunteer hours at their schools. She was always their greatest supporter, even though their occasional hijinks caused her rueful admonishment: “Who raised you like that?!”.

Richard passed away unexpectedly in 1997, just shy of their twenty-third anniversary. As Gayle moved through her grief, she forged her own independence. Years later, her young grandson Max would suggest, “Grandma, you should go buy a husband or a dog so you aren’t alone.” Gayle had a couple of canine companions over the years (RIP, Schotzee and Jackson), but she said that Richard had been the only husband worth having.

Gayle was an avid reader; both a stack of books and her Kindle were always at her side. She would walk (fast) three or four miles multiple times a week. She delighted in her grandchildren (“God’s Reward For Not Killing Your Kids,” as the faux-rustic plaque in her dining room read). She always had an incredible intricate cross stitch project in the works, and gifted many of these heirlooms to her family. (The creepy Santa stocking was an anomaly, but her niece Kelli treasures in nonetheless.)

Besides her husband Richard, Gayle was preceded in death by her parents; her stepfather Robert Hays; and two of her brothers, Stephen Marshall and Kenneth Marshall.

She is survived and missed by her two sons, David (Sarah) Kil of Middleville, MI, and Nathan (MC Connor) Kil of Brooklyn, NY; three grandchildren Isaac, Maximus, and Yvette; one brother David (Shelly) Marshall of Keokuk, IA; two stepbrothers Scott (Julie) Hays of Keokuk, IA and Rex Hays of Florida; and her stepsister Lynn (Glenn) Carter of Montrose, IA.

Because she was self-effacing to a fault, Gayle requested no funeral or memorial services. Honor her by enjoying the time you have with your loved ones. Memorial donations may made to Rose Arbor Hospice, 7100 Stadium Dr., Kalamazoo, MI 49009, where the staff brought such compassion and dignity to Gayle’s last few days. You may also donate online at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gayle Joanne Kil, please visit our flower store.


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