Kathryn Mary Gabriel ("Kay") passed away on February 15, 2014 surrounded by family and friends. She was an amazing woman. She was the warmest, kindest, most loving, gentle, nurturing and self-sacrificing person I have ever met. She was always concerned for others and looked for ways to help people, never asking for anything. She loved helping and taking care of people. She was a devoted mother and a wonderful example of love having no bounds.
Born on October 23, 1928, Kay grew up on a farm in the small town of St. Louisville, Ohio, met and married Tony Gabriel in New Jersey, later moved with him to Southern California, where they had their daughter Laura, and then to the San Francisco Bay Area. Her final move was with Laura and her family from Orinda, California to Mercer Island, Washington.
Kay was independent and self-sufficient. She loved to drive, and when Laura was a baby and young child, Kay would drive across the country with her from California to New Jersey to visit family. On the way home they loved to sing "California Here I Come" and "Yes Sir, That's My Baby." Among other things (like modeling her beautiful naturally curly hair for Clairol), she was the first woman police officer in Manhattan Beach, California (winning the Thanksgiving Turkey for beating all the men at target shooting and driving the obstacle course), an auditor for Canteen Corporation, and owned and managed Gabriel's Restaurant in Hemet, California, where, among other things, she did the ordering and bookkeeping, managed the employees, seated customers, and baked the deserts. She was an excellent cook and baker. Her cheesecake and baklava were family favorites.
Kay loved spending time with family and friends and especially enjoyed watching her grandchildren play and have fun. Despite her long battle with dementia, she never lost her kind and gentle nature, her wonderful smile, or her ability to use her eyes to make a deep connection with people.
Kay was preceded in death by her father, Leonard McKibben; mother, Mary Litten; step-father, Ralph Litten; ex-husband Tony Gabriel; son, James Douglas; and grandson, Tyler Merritt. She is survived by her daughter, Laura Gabriel; son-in-law, Tim O'Donnell; grandchildren Cheryl Rice, Cindy Merritt, Steve Douglas, Angela Baumgarten, Gabrielle O'Donnell, Christine O'Donnell, and Anthony O'Donnell; and great-grandchildren Ryan and Corey Merritt, Marisa Douglas, Noah and Jamie Rice, and Andrea and Elissa Baumgarten. Kay is incredibly loved and she will be deeply missed.
Family and friends are invited to attend funeral services at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday February 20 at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption at 1804 13th Avenue, Seattle, Washington. A repast will follow. She will be buried at Oakmont Memorial Park in Lafayette, California, near Tony. Donations may be made to the
in Kay's honor. For further information please call Bonney-Watson Funeral Home at 206-322-0013.
Published in The Seattle Times from Feb. 18 to Feb. 19, 2014