Gail Ione Fenton-Kuhlman celebrated her 85th birthday with family and friends on Aug. 17 and went to heaven the following evening of Aug. 18, 2023, after a brief bout with cancer. Her last two weeks were spent with her children, grandchildren and many of her Nebraska family present, which brought her much joy. She spent her last days filled with dignity and grace and got to say her final goodbyes. She is survived by her two sons, Kevin (Lisa) and Kip; her two grandchildren, Corey (Chassy) and Breanna (Keith) Belter. She is also survived by her brother, Gary, and numerous nieces and nephews in Nebraska. Her final resting place will be Broken Bow, Nebraska.
Gail was born on Aug. 17, 1938, and spent her youth in Nebraska with her parents, Eddie and Lucille Fenton. She was the eldest child who was later joined by brother, Gary, and sister, Mickey.
On Oct. 13, 1957, Gail married the love of her life, Glenn Kuhlman, and began her life as a military wife, moving to Yuba City, California, where Kevin was born in 1960. Upon returning to Broken Bow, Nebraska, Kip was born in 1962, and she continued her cosmetology career that began during the California years. The family moved to Battle Ground, Washington, in the early ’70s and planted family roots. They opened the Rug Baron, a carpet and hard surface retail store, where Gail was co-owner with Glenn until it was sold in 1979. Gail was also Battle Ground Chamber President from 1980 to 1983 where she worked tirelessly to promote the Battle Ground community. She also became the proprietor of Rock Creek Guest House during the 1980s.
Gail adored her sons, Kevin and Kip, and spent many years volunteering at their school. She worked with the PTA, was a homeroom mother and assisted in the health room and many other activities on behalf of her boys. Years later she loved spending time with her grandchildren, going to their sporting events, or taking them to movies and plays. When grandson Corey graduated in 2004 and granddaughter Breanna graduated in 2010, she took each of them to Europe. It was an experience they both treasured.
Gail worked as a district assistant for Congressman Don Bonker and also served as president of several organizations including Discovery Art Gallery, General Federated Women’s Club, and DECA Advisory Council.
Gail had a lifelong quest for knowledge. She first attended Clark College where she obtained her associate degree alongside her son Kip’s high school graduation in 1987. She began attending Marylhurst College and graduated from Portland State University in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. An avid reader, she surrounded herself with books by working at Barnes & Noble.
Gail valued companionship and entered into long-term loving relationships in her later years. Each brought new insights and new perspectives that allowed her to live her life lovingly and to the fullest.
Gail was a social butterfly; she loved people and made many friendships throughout her life and valued their many diverse lifestyles. All of the friendships she made throughout the years were of paramount importance to her, and she strove to always be present.
She traveled throughout Europe, including several trips to Paris; the Caribbean; went on a 12-day geological field trip in Yosemite where she climbed Half Dome; and hiked down the Grand Canyon in one day. Following 9/11, she joined a contingent of Clark County individuals who traveled to New York to provide support for local businesses. People Magazine published a picture of the group highlighting the support Gail and her friends gave to New York City.
Gail was a multi-faceted woman, emotional, loving, kind, generous and loyal, but also driven to achievement and success. She was dedicated to do the best, to be the best at whatever endeavor she pursued. She has left a void in so many lives, but her memory will live on. May we all remember something loving, something kind, or some special moment that will bring a smile. She would like that.
A Celebration of Life will be held at her favorite restaurant, The Cove, 5731 SE Columbia Way, Vancouver, Washington, 98661 on Oct. 22, 2023, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The family is requesting that you RSVP to Teri Nosko at (360) 901-5994 if you wish to attend.