Richard Gill, Jr.
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Obituary of Richard LaVern Gill, Jr.

A memorial party will be held this summer to celebrate the life of Richard Lavern Gill Jr., originally of Kalamazoo.  The date has not yet been set.

Gill, 55, died peacefully in the early morning hours of Dec. 4, 2018, at his home near Paw Paw. That followed a long bout with cancer.

Richie was the son of Richard L. Gill Sr. and the late Sylvia M. (Fisher) Gill. He was a jack of all trades and the master of learning new ones- typically when he became bored or had risen as high as he could go at one company or place.

He worked independently and at any number of local companies, including Sears, Pactiv Corp., Target Distribution Center and Grapevine Furniture Co. He was well-liked and a fixture on and around Eagle Lake in Paw Paw, where he had also worked to service docks, launch neighbors’ boats, and secure the properties of seasonal homeowners.  He also did snow removal there for several years and helped care for his grandfather-in-law, Clifford M. Russell, for several years. Russell died in early 2017 at age 101.

Richie attended Kalamazoo Central High School and traveled the world in the early 1980’s in the U.S. Navy. He returned to school later in life and earned an associate’s degree in computer science from Kalamazoo Valley Community College. He was a great cook, could sell almost anything, could fix most things, and was afraid of nothing- something that got him in trouble from time to time.

He loved fishing, boating, being on the open water, and was an avid water skier. He also loved computers and all things technical and was a competitive online video gamer. Almost anyone who knew him knew he loved a good movie and was willing to share his collection of compact discs. He once met basketball star Lebron James and spent an afternoon with him and members of the NBA’s Miami Heat basketball team. But he was more likely to tell you about a great neighbor at Eagle Lake and times he spent with members of his Eagle Lake “family.”

He also loved his real family. He was married three times- to Julie McMillan, to Jerri Robinson and finally to Dyett Russell. He was the father of four children and two step-children, all of whom are now young adults. He was the grandfather of four, with a fifth on the way. His progeny includes grandchildren Kiana, Eman, Dallas, and Dean, who affectionately called him “Paw Paw.” Richie was known to always have a smile on his face and he kept his sense of humor during the latter part of his illness, even after cancer stole his ability to speak. He tried to make visitors feel good by changing expressions, shaking his shoulders or flashing that smile. Richard L. Gill Jr. is survived by his father and his wife of 14 years, Dyett, as well as: his children Samantha Logan, Richard L. Gill III, Braylon Gill, and Maria (Timothy) Crane; and step-children Alexis (Mario) Bell and Ambrea Jones. All are of Kalamazoo except Logan, of Arizona, and Alexis and Mario Bell, of St. Louis, MO. Richie was known to think of Mario as a son.  Also surviving are: his sisters Carmina (Al) Jones and Cherryl (Darrell) Carter; his nieces Charli Holloway and Tereva Carter; nephews A.J. Jones, Kenneth Jones, Isaiah Carter, Nolan Carter and Keith Jones; and many loving aunts, uncles and cousins.

Cremation arrangements are being handled by the Whitley Memorial Funeral Home, 330 N. Westnedge Ave. The family requests that no flowers be sent.

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