Gayle Mary Kissell of Natick died Oct. 20 after a brief illness. She was 79.

She was born in Walpole on Oct. 29, 1942. She spent her childhood in Walpole and attended local schools. After graduating from Walpole High School, she attended Aquinas College in Milton, where she majored in secretarial studies.

She started her professional career at the Plimpton Press in Norwood. There she met her future husband, Bruce Kissell, who had just moved to Massachusetts from Pittsburgh, Pa. after attaining his degree from Carnegie Mellon University. They were married three years later, in 1966.

They lived in Stamford, Conn. for two years before returning to Walpole, where they began their family. She and her family moved to southern N.J. in 1980. They returned to New England in 1985 and settled in Lexington.

In 1976, Gayle and Bruce bought a summer home on the Vineyard and it instantly became her favorite place on earth. They ultimately made that home their main residence. On the Island, Gayle donated much of her time, driving senior citizens to appointments and helping them run errands. With Bruce, she also acted as an art instructor’s assistant for the senior citizens of Vineyard Haven.

She was an avid reader who loved books and libraries. She loved walking on the beach to look for sea glass and was famous for rewarding any grandchild who found a rare piece. Most of all, she loved spending time with her husband, children and grandchildren.

Gayle is survived by Bruce, her husband of 56 years, her older sister Elizabeth Shore of Sorrento, Fla. and her younger brother Jack Fitzpatrick of Coconut Grove, Fla. In addition, she is survived by her daughter Kristin Miller and her husband Alan of Claremont, Ca., her son Jason and his wife Beth of Westwood, and her son John and his wife Alissa of Wayland. She was “Gum” and “Gammy” to seven grandchildren who adored her: Ryan, Lily, Katie, Adelaide, Felix, Finn and Sevi.

Memorial donations can be made to the Vineyard Haven Library Building Fund, P.O. Box 4961, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 or online at

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