Cover photo for Darl Kay Stites's Obituary
Darl Kay Stites Profile Photo
1936 Darl 2023

Darl Kay Stites

May 2, 1936 — February 23, 2023


Darl Kay Stites, 86, passed away on February 23, 2023 in Memory Care following several days in the hospital and a short stay at a rehabilitation facility.


Kay was born May 2, 1936 in Rockford, Illinois to Darl Glen Stites and Doris Pearl McDanel Stites. Following high school, he moved to Chicago on a full scholarship to Illinois Institute of Technology to pursue a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He later completed his Master’s Degree in Business Administration at the University of Southern California.


While attending college, Kay met his wife, Lila Echtenkamp Stites. The two married on March 30, 1957 and were married for 64 years. They had 2 children, Kelly Stites Gilliland and Kevin Stites.


Kay’s career began with General Dynamics, a special project with Lockheed, and the majority of his working career at Hughes Aircraft, later purchased by General Motors. He was fortunate to work with many projects that positively impacted the defense industry and the different branches of the military. Later, some of that same technology he helped develop is currently benefiting us in our cars.


Kay and Lila’s life adventures took them to many different cities and states from Chicago/Rockford to San Diego, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Detroit, Dallas, New York and Montgomery where they had developed wonderful lifelong friendships. They eventually retired in Peachtree City, Georgia.  Kay loved playing golf, playing poker with his friends, and also playing couples bridge with Lila. He was an avid hunter and gun collector.  He went on hunting trips with friends to many different locations within the United States, and also in other countries. Kay had many entertaining stories from his hunting adventures! He also enjoyed their dog, Bonnie.


He is preceded in death by his wife Lila Jane Stites, son Kevin Leigh Stites, his mother and father, Darl and Doris Stites.


He is survived by his daughter and son in law, Kelly and Steve Gilliland, his granddaughters, Lauren Gilliland (Jeremy Commisso) and Lindsay Gilliland Wiest (Trevor Wiest), and his great granddaughters, Mila Jane Commisso, Ellie Lynnette Commisso and Callie Elizabeth Wiest.



Memorial contributions are suggested to:      

                                                                                        Gary Sinise Foundation (For Veterans)                                        K9's for Warriors

                                                                                        P.O. Box 40726                                                        or                         114 Camp K9 Road

                                                                                        Nashville, TN  37204                                                                          Ponte Vedra, FL 32081




Memorial Service:

Church of the Resurrection – Wesley Chapel

13720 Roe Avenue, Leawood, KS 66224


10 AM Saturday

May 6, 2023


Service will be live streamed at:

                                                                     (You can log on about 15 minutes before the service starts)


Internment to be held immediately following:

Johnson County Funeral Chapel & Memorial Gardens

11200 Metcalf Avenue, Overland Park, KS 66210


Reception to follow services at Gilliland Residence:

6605 NE 134th Street, Smithville, MO 64089



To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Darl Kay Stites, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, May 6, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Wesley Chapel At Church of the Resurrection United Methodist Church

13720 Roe Ave, Leawood, KS 66224

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Saturday, May 6, 2023

11:30 - 11:45 am (Central time)

Johnson County Memorial Gardens

11200 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, KS 66210

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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