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Life Story / Obituary
Gaye Block was a vibrant person to her loving family and many special friends. Born with a natural ability to make others laugh, there was never a dull moment when she was around. She had an enormous heart and loved everyone unconditionally. A longtime resident of the community she loved, there is no doubt that Gaye will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by all who knew and loved her.
H William and Dolores (Hill) Gillan were delighted when they welcomed home their firstborn baby daughter, Gaye Delight, on April 16, 1946, in Shelby, Michigan. Later followed by her siblings; Joye, Glen, and Gary, her birth brought her parents great joy and happiness.
Growing up in Montague, Gaye lived a typical childhood of the times. Her father was a successful businessman who owned a car dealership and a local tree farm. Her mother played an active role in her children’s lives and remained home as a homemaker and volunteered in the community. By the tender age of sixteen, her mother passed away from cancer. With the responsibility of looking after her younger siblings, Gaye was often thought to be a natural leader or in the eyes of her siblings; bossy! She stepped up to the challenge as the mother figure yet somehow managed to maintain her social life as well.
While in high school Gaye took work at a local ice cream parlor in town. She was also very active in her school’s music program and played the bass clarinet throughout her high school years. Studious as well as ambitious, Gaye excelled in math and physics graduating with the Class of 1964 from Montague High School. Her math skilled treated her well throughout life as she worked as a bookkeeper for several businesses.
After High School she enrolled at Western Michigan University with a dream of becoming a teacher. Yet before she could complete her education, she and Bruce Block whom she had met in high school joined in marriage. Together they raised two wonderful daughters, Barb and Jamie, in a loving and caring home. Gaye took her role as a mother very seriously and remained active in their lives. She was always one to encourage them in their many endeavors and supported their years as Girl Scouts, hosted many school picnics, and attended their special events. Gaye created a welcoming home for their friends to gather and play. It was easy to tell her girls were her everything! As a family, they enjoyed many years of camping. They also managed memorable trips to California and Florida to visit each of the Disney theme parks. Gaye taught her children the life lessons of independence and integrity. She wanted them to be strong and fearless women in the ever-changing world. A natural listener, Gaye provided them with a rich and happy childhood.
Gaye was a woman of many special interests. She enjoyed watching sports over the years, especially her Detroit teams and her MSU Spartans! She loved college football and basketball seasons and cheered for many of the Big Ten teams. For many years, she was an avid cake decorator, baking and decorating for friends and family. Gaye also loved visiting and collecting Michigan lighthouses. A music lover her whole life, she enjoyed listening to Neil Diamond as well as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. A fan of live theater, Gaye would take pleasure in a show at the Barn Theatre in Augusta or Miller Auditorium at WMU. She enjoyed the classical musicals and never passed up an opportunity to attend with special friends and family. Her adventurous spirit led her on many trips with both the Comstock Community and Portage Senior Centers over the years. Her dry sense of humor made her easy to like and she made many lasting friendships during her visits. When she was feeling a little lucky, she would plan a trip to some of her favorite Midwest casinos. Win or lose, she always had a good time!
When it came time for relaxation, she enjoyed reading mystery novels or watching detective shows on television. She often would knit or crochet while enjoying her evening episodes. She and her sister, Joye, would often watch the latest episode of Survivor long distance together on the phone. For her 70th birthday she traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico for their well-known annual balloon festival! Gaye was thrilled to have experienced such an awesome trip and savored those memories.
In 2008 Gaye was diagnosed with uterine cancer. Although she survived the cancer, her health slowly began to decline and in the later part of 2019 her health began to decline sharply. All through the years since her cancer she never let her health get in the way of living life and taking part in family events. A generous and compassionate person, Gaye leaves behind a wonderful collection of memories for her many special friends and loved ones to cherish forever.
Gaye Delight Block died on Saturday, February 29, 2020, with her family by her side at Glenn Arbor Hospice in Battle Creek. Members of her family include her two daughters: Barb (John) Stephens and Jamie Block (Jeff Craddock), a sister, Joye Mitchell, and two brothers; Glen Gillan and Gary (Karyn) Gillan, several nieces and nephews and Chester, her beloved grand dog. She was preceded in death by her parents and her stepmother, Jessie Gillan. Family and friends will gather to celebrate her life while sharing food and refreshments on Saturday, March 14th from 5-7 PM at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375- 2900. Please visit Gaye’s personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to the Comstock Community Center or Hospice Care of SW Michigan.