The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

January 27, 2014

Benefit dinner planned for family of local veteran

ASHTABULA — The photo of Richard Kile says a lot about his personality.

His hat is on inside out and there’s a board game stuffed under his shirt. He’s wearing a goofy grin of victory.

“That was my husband,” Jenean Kile said. “He loved his family and he loved the board game Quelf. The card in the game told him to do all that stuff, so he did it. Anything for a laugh.”

Richard Kile, 37, died on Jan. 18 after battling brain cancer for 12 years.

Richard Kile had no life insurance, and with Jenean working at home as her husband’s caregiver, funds are needed for funeral and life expenses.

Friends are rallying to support the Kile family, Zachary White of the U.S. Air Force, Tristan, 17, Christopher, 13, and Hanna, 6, and will host a benefit chili dinner on Feb. 1 at the Mt. Carmel Community Center. The event, which will begin at 6 p.m., will include a raffle.

For more information about the dinner, to buy tickets or to donate raffle items, call Jennifer Museio at 855-8452, Kirsten Emerson at 344-8421, or Marti Dixon at 417-0006.

After graduating from high school, Richard Kile joined the United Stated Marine Corps and served a tour in Afghanistan. He later served as a staff sergeant and was honorably retired from the military. To honor his wishes, Richard’s family is planning a military burial at sea, but is struggling with the cost of funeral expenses. Contributions to help with the cost of the funeral may be made to the Richard and Jenean Kile Fund through local Huntington Bank branches or through GoFundMe.com.

Richard Kile’s journey with cancer began in 2002.

“He was jogging,” Jenean said. “That’s all he remembered. He woke up in the emergency room. He had suffered some sort of seizure, and an MRI found the tumor in his brain.”

Over the next 12 years, Richard Kile would develop four tumors, undergo three surgeries and endure chemotherapy and radiation.

In 2005, son Tristan was diagnosed with leukemia just after doctors found a second tumor in Richard’s brain.

“It was an unreal time for us,” Jenean said. “But we knew we had to be strong for each other.”

The family moved to Ashtabula four years ago and joined the Our Lady of Peace parish. Richard joined the Ashtabula VFW and the Knights of Columbus.

Jenean said Richard was determined to live the best life possible.

“We really lived the idea that this is the day God gave us and we have to deal with whatever came with it,” Jenean said. “I say he was determined, but what I mean is that he was really stubborn,” she said with a laugh. “Being a Marine helped because Marines don’t give up on anything.”

Life became more difficult as the cancer progressed, stealing Richard’s memory and leaving him paralyzed.

“He just became so frustrated because he wanted to be able to do all the things a 37 year old man should be able to do. It was really hard on him,” she said.

Jenean said she and her family have been “held up” by the family community at St. John School, where her children attend classes. Her friends at the Ashtabula Arts Center, where the entire family participates in classes and shows, have also jumped in to help.

“The family community at St. John School has been over-the-top amazing through all of this,” Jenean said. “I can’t say enough.” The arts center was always a place for the Kile family to come together and support each other.

“I participate in a lot of shows and our children are very involved in the arts center, so my husband was always there to help out. He would work the concessions or be an usher — anything for his family,”  she said.

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