Life Story Services
A reception where food, drinks and stories will be shared will be held immediately following the service until 6 pm in the Life Story Center.
Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Catherine Hill would agree that she understood the secret to a life well lived. She was a constant source of strength and support, even in the most difficult of times. Catherine always did her best to go above and beyond to help others, and her serving spirit allowed her to touch the lives of those around her in such a special way. She was well known for her sense of humor and her unshakeable faith, and she was never afraid to work hard in order to care for those she loved. Deeply loved, Catherine will never be forgotten.
Life during the 1930s was anything but easy as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. Despite the trials around them, Michael and Margaret Romaniello were filled with great joy as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Catherine Ann on June 26, 1936.
Growing up, Catherine or affectionately known as Kay, was a typical young girl of her generation. She was born and raised in Brooklyn New York in the family home alongside her younger siblings, Rose, Michael, Sam, and Nicholas. Kay’s father worked for the railroad in order to support the family while her mother tended the home and raised her children. Kay had an adventurous childhood growing up in the city as green grass was a commodity and to survive you had to have “street smarts”. Growing up in an Italian home, she learned the art of old world cooking and how to prepare traditional dishes from her mother. She also learned the importance of family values at a young age, and she was able to build the foundation of the strong work ethic that would serve her well for her entire life.
It was while Kay was living in her childhood neighborhood in Brooklyn that she first met the man who would one day become her husband. His name was Roy Franklin Stone, and a relationship quickly developed between the two of them. Throughout their marriage, Kay and Roy welcomed four beloved children into their hearts and home. They knew that they didn’t want to raise a family in the city so they moved to Kalamazoo. After Roy unfortunately passed away in 1963 at the age of 27, Kay was determined to take care of their children and provide a home for them. She moved her family to Parchment, where she and the children settled into a new home. Throughout this time in her life, Kay revealed the strength of her inner character and served as a shining example of determination and resilience for her children and all those around her. The house in Parchment became home and many fond memories were had in the house.
New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Kay as she met the man who she would soon marry. She and John Hill first met while he was working at Western Michigan University. There was an instant connection between the two of them, and they quickly formed a close relationship. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Kay and John were married in the presence of friends and family on November 13, 1964. They focused on building their family and doing everything they could to give the children full lives.
As family and friends can attest there was nothing Kay treasured in life more than her loved ones. She worked hard to support her children and to raise them into kind and hard-working individuals. Later in life, Kay was overjoyed to watch her family tree blossom to include grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. She adored her grandchildren and spent time with them whenever possible. Throughout her life Kay formed many friendships, but her closest, lifelong friend was Marcia Burgstahler, whom she knew for over sixty years.
When John became disabled in the 1980’s and was unable to work, Kay found employment in food services and catering with Borgess Hospital. She worked tirelessly until her retirement to make sure the all the family’s needs were met. John passed away on February 27, 2009, a loving a partner she would mention fondly for many years to come. She faced this challenge like all other challenges in life with grit, determination and tenacity. She never tired of caring for others and always worked to serve those around her whenever she could.
Never one to sit still for long, Kay pursued many hobbies to stay busy in her free time. After beginning their journey together, she and John loved to take family camping trips, go on picnics and day trips, and visit family in New York City. These trips were the source of countless treasured memories, and the children learned to appreciate the value of family. Whenever they traveled, Kay had to stop at a gift shop to pick up a small memento of the trip. Christmas was always a very important holiday to her, and she loved making it special for everyone and making sure all of the children had plenty of gifts. Kay enjoyed cooking the big holiday dinners and hosting the family. Family was always the top priority in her life. Kay was born and raised in the Catholic faith, but later in life, she became Protestant and found a deep and loving relationship with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and she learned to lean on him during trying times. She enjoyed knitting, crocheting, gardening, dancing, playing cards and was passionate about health and nutrition, which she instilled in her family. Kay always hoped to win big in the Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes. Kay had learned to be very frugal throughout her life, and she had many creative ways of making a dollar stretch.
When reflecting on the life of Kay Hill, it is easy to see her unwavering strength and her unconditional love for her family. She placed a high value on honesty and integrity, and her determination and fortitude allowed her to unite her family and keep their bonds strong. Kay was a gentle soul who was beloved by all who knew her, and she was always willing to be there for anyone who needed someone to care for them. Her faith was a constant support in her life and was the driving force behind her never-ending joy. Though she will be deeply missed, Kay leaves behind a priceless legacy that her loved ones will be proud to carry on in her footsteps.
Catherine “Kay” Hill, died on Monday, February 21, 2022 at Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo. Members of her family include her son Roy (Jean) Stone , Rik (Wendy) Stone, Debbie (Randy) Parsons, Tami (Scott) Forbes, Ray (Dawn) Hill, John (Lisa) Hill, Diane Hunsacker; 15 grandchildren and several great grandchildren. Other members of her family include her siblings Rose (Tony) Pitelli, Michael (Margie) Romaniello and Sam (Maria) Romaniello; a sister-in-law Maria Romaniello. She was preceded in death by her brother Nicholas Romaniello and a grandson Jeremy Hill.
Life Story Services will be held at 3 pm on Thursday, March 10, 2022 at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. A reception where food drinks and stories will be shared will be held immediately following in the Life Story Center. Visit Kay’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos and sign her guestbook.