School 14

Kathryn Y. (Estes) Gile

January 17, 1937 ~ June 4, 2023 (age 86) 86 Years Old
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Kathryn Yvonne Gile Obituary

Kathryn Yvonne Estes Gile was born January 17, 1937, in Squires, Missouri to Henry Cleon and Elsie Lee (Spurlock) Estes. She was raised in Squires, Missouri and Abilene, Kansas.  While living in Abilene, her parents purchased The Hi-Way Drive-In Restaurant.  Kathryn, along with her siblings, waited tables, washed dishes, and assisted in food preparation.  It was in this restaurant that Kathryn met Richard Gile, a soldier stationed at Fort Riley.  He became her soulmate.  They were united in marriage on September 8, 1953, and to this union five children were born, Yvonna Sue, Kevin Douglas, Lynda Denise, Michelle Dawn, and Dana Eric.

From a young age Kathryn was passionate about reading books, playing the piano, and telling stories to children.  Her enjoyment of God’s nature inspired her love of flower gardening and watching the birds who visited her many bird baths and feeders.

Her passion for books and storytelling led her to volunteering as the Scandia City Library Story Lady in 1979 and subsequently was hired as the librarian in 1980.  She held this position for 33 years, and described telling stories to children as her favorite job.  Many of her accomplishments included a grant that she wrote in 2002 which laid the groundwork for the first public computers in the Scandia City Library. She won the Thunderbird Reading Council Library award, and was featured in the Kansas State Library Newspaper for her story hour work that same year. Many of the local school districts requested Kathryn to come tell stories to their students.  She loved “taking her stories on the road.” She would have loved to continue in her role as the Story Lady, but due to her husband’s declining health she chose to be his caregiver and retired from her position at the library.

Kathryn also served as a paraprofessional through the Learning Cooperative of North Central Kansas.  In this role she provided instruction for exceptional students enrolled in public schools.  Oftentimes when Kathryn went into town, many of her former students would always come greet her with a hug and tell her thank you for her help.

Her passion for music which served as her expression of faith, love and gratitude to God provided her with the opportunity to play the organ and piano at the Presbyterian Church in Belleville, Kansas.  A position she held from 1994 until November 2022 when her health would no longer allow her to continue.

After her cancer diagnosis and during chemotherapy, she was able to realize a dream she has had since age nine to become a published author.  At the ages of 85 and 86 ,she published three books, “For the Love of Birds”, “Little Cherub”, and “Word Music”, and soon to be released “The Snowy Day That Wasn’t.”

On June 4, 2023, Kathryn lost her courageous fight to cancer surrounded by her loved ones.  She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Richard, two infant sons Kevin and Dana, grandson Christopher Johnson, and great-granddaughter Addison Johnson.

Survivors include daughters Sue Whitmer (Scott) Voorhees, NJ; Denise Johnson (Gary) Lander, WY; Michelle Larson (Kevin) Scandia, KS.  Grandchildren Jeremiah Johnson (Nicki) Cedar Falls, IA; Betsey Gallinger (Nick) Lander, WY; Dana Larson (Kayla) Scandia, KS; Evan Whitmer (Jessica) Honolulu, HI; Kirk Whitmer (Anastasia) Blackwood, NJ; Shanna Lindberg (Nathan) Formoso, KS; Corbin Larson, Scandia, KS.  Great-grandchildren Bridgette (Brian) Estrada; Hunter Johnson; Ethan Johnson; Owen Johnson; Lily Johnson; Lane Johnson; Kate Gallinger; Kylie Gallinger; Drew Johnson; Hudson Lindberg; Karoline Gallinger; Harlow Lindberg; Brylee Larson; Kinsley Larson, Declan Larson, Stephen Whitmer, Helen Whitmer, and Timothy Whitmer;  Great-great grandchildren Jacob Hund and Everleigh Estrada;  Brother Norman (Jan) Estes, Lake Quivira, KS; Sister, Ann Gardner, Olathe, KS. A multitude of family and friends.

Celebration of Life service will be at 10:00 AM, Tuesday, June 13, 2023 at the Norway Community Center, Norway, KS.

Friends may call from 1 PM until 8 PM Monday, June 12, 2023 at the Bachelor-Surber Funeral Home, Belleville, KS where the family will greet friends from 5 PM until 7 PM on Monday.

Cremation will follow the services with family inurnment to be held at a later date at the Pleasant Ridge Cemetery, rural Norway, KS.

Online condolences at

Memorials in Kathryn’s name can be made to the University of Kansas Cancer Center. 

Bachelor-Surber Funeral Home, Belleville, KS is in charge of the arrangements.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Kathryn Y. (Estes) Gile, please visit our floral store.

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June 12, 2023

1:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Bachelor-Surber Funeral Home
1322 19th Street
Belleville, KS 66935

Family Greeting Friends
June 12, 2023

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Bachelor-Surber Funeral Home
1322 19th Street
Belleville, KS 66935

Celebration of Life
June 13, 2023

10:00 AM
Norway Community Center
Highway K 148
Norway, KS 66961

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