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
Church of the Resurrection – Wesley Chapel
13720 Roe Avenue, Leawood, KS 66224
10 AM Saturday
May 6, 2023
Service will be live streamed at: https://cor.org/memorialsonline.
(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