Gayle was born in Kansas City, Mo. on March 3, 1943. Originally named Natalie Ann Newkirk by her biological mother, she was put up for adoption during WWII. Lee and Virgil Kenall of Ellsworth, Wis., brought her home as an infant, completing their family and renaming her Gayle Marie. Gayle was preceded in death by her parents, brothers Richard “Dick” (Barbara) and James (Marcy), and her husband of 55 years, Robert “Bob” Magee. She is survived by her three sons, Paul (Mirelys), Thad (Angela) and Chris (ReAnna), all of Prescott, Wis. She is also survived by eight grandchildren, Rick, Fred, Bill, Finley, Joaquin, Emily, Sydney, and Ruby, along with many nieces and nephews.
Gayle grew up in Ellsworth and was an avid athlete, artist, and musician, taking part in any sport she could as well as playing the piano and trumpet. She graduated from Ellsworth High School in 1961. Gayle then attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and had the opportunity to play with the UW marching band at the Rose Bowl. She graduated in 1965 with a degree in music and teaching and taught for a short time in Elroy, Wis. Gayle met Bob while working for him at the Pierce County Bank in Ellsworth. They had been family friends and, while it was not love at first sight, eventually it grew to be the case. They were married at St. Francis Catholic Church in Ellsworth on Feb. 19, 1966 and went on to spend 55+ years together until Bob’s passing.
Gayle and Bob were fortunate to be early retirees. They raised their sons at homes in Prescott, Tavernier, Fla., and Grand Marais, Minn. Gayle was a wonderful stay-at-home mother. She loved playing golf, tennis, painting, composing music and supporting her boys in anything they did. When they had children, she became an active and involved grandmother. She and Bob had many friends and enjoyed hosting parties, going on cruises, and being engaged participants in local social scenes. Gayle was also an active member in the churches to which she belonged. She sang and played music for the parishes of St. Joseph in Prescott, San Pedro in Tavernier, and St. John in Grand Marais.
Gayle spent her last two months at Preferred Senior Living Memory Care in Ellsworth. Her family extends their gratitude to the director and staff, as well as to the professional caregivers of Adoray Hospice Care. She was blessed to have many wonderful people help her as she progressed through her journey with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. She was particularly blessed to have amazing daily care from her daughter-in-law, Mirelys, after Bob passed away.
A Mass of Christina Burial was held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Parish: 265 Dakota St. S. Prescott, WI 54021. A visitation was from 9:30 a.m. until the start of Mass. Burial will be at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery in Prescott.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Alzheimer’s Association or to Preferred Senior Living in Ellsworth, Wis.
Services are entrusted to the O’Connell Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Ellsworth, www.connellfuneralhomes.com, 715-273-4421