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From everyone here at Sierra News Online, our deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of Kay Gilkinson.

Celebration of Life for Kathleen (Kay) Joyce Read Gilkinson

Kathleen Joyce Read Gilkinson
Oakhurst/Madera Ranchos, California
January 22, 1927 – March 9, 2021

Kathleen (Kay) Joyce Read Gilkinson was born to Arthur Read and Mabel Ruby King Read on January 22, 1927, in Winnipeg, Canada. When Kay was very young, the family moved to Los Angeles, California. Kay had an older brother, Dan, and a younger brother, Art. Her father died when she was seven. She grew up in LA, attending UCLA in 1945. While at UCLA, she met Robert (Bob) James Gilkinson, and they were married in 1949. They moved to Trona, where they had their first son, Randal, in 1953.

After a couple of years, they moved to Ridgecrest/China Lake, where they had three more children: Janet, Kevin, and Nancy. Both Bob and Kay were teachers in Ridgecrest for over twenty-five years. Kay taught Kindergarten for many of those years. They retired to Oakhurst, California, in 1983. Bob passed away in 2003. Kay lived with her son Kevin and daughter-in-law Stacie from 2009 until her passing.

When Kay was a young woman, she enjoyed gardening, baking, sewing, and embroidering. She made gingerbread cookies for all the neighbors and all her friends and their families. When Kay retired, she began tole painting, and painted many wooden decorations and ornaments, and she painted on shirts for her children and grandchildren. She was an avid gardener, taking great pleasure in the flower beds at her house in Ridgecrest and also in Oakhurst.

Kay enjoyed walking daily and was still walking a mile a day at age 90. In recent years, she liked visiting with her many friends at the Senior Center in Madera Ranchos. She enjoyed coloring in her adult coloring books and reading novels. Most of all, she enjoyed seeing and spending time with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Kay’s cousin was Deanna Durbin, a famous movie star in the 1930-40s. Kay loved watching the old movies that Deanna starred in. As her children were growing up, they frequently saw the black and white films on a movie projector cast outdoors during the summer evenings, along with friends and neighbors. As her grandchildren and great grandchildren have been growing up, they have also watched Deanna movies each time they visited their Grandma.

Kay was preceded in death by her her parents, her husband Bob, her brothers Daniel and Arthur, and her son Randy. She is survived by her daughter Janet (Peter), son Kevin (Stacie), daughter Nancy (Mark); and her twelve grandchildren, Jake, Selina, Katie, Matthew, Rob, Clara, Betsy, Isaac, Leah, Tricia, Martin and John; and her eleven great-grandchildren, and one on the way. Kay was a beloved daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She was a kind, caring and generous woman with a good sense of humor and an appreciation for living in the moment. She is dearly missed by all of her family.

Kay died in her sleep on March 9, 2021, with family members at her bedside. A celebration of life will be held at the Gilkinson homestead in Oakhurst on November 13, 2021. For more information, please contact Janet at janet@astoriarealestate.net.

Image of Kathleen Gilkinson.

Kay Gilkinson

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