Cover photo for Kayla L. Deneau's Obituary
Kayla L. Deneau Profile Photo

Kayla L. Deneau

Kayla passed away unexpectedly, Friday, August 27, 2021 in Detroit.

She was born May 22, 1989 in Kalamazoo, the daughter of James and Ellyn (Meeter) Deneau. Kayla graduated from Otsego High School in 2007 and with bachelor degrees in journalism and political science from Michigan State University in 2012. She enjoyed traveling, camping, kayaking, shopping, car rattling music, Mexican food and animals, especially dogs. Kayla loved life and was quick to make a new friend.

Her friends say: Kayla made the world a better place.  Your energy your kindness and your fun spirited, you were always laughing and always down for an amazing time!  Thank you for always being such a fun & kind friend throughout college – I really can’t remember a time when you weren’t a fun, nice & happy person!  I know you were so loved by all your friends & you lived life to the fullest… lived more life in only 32 young years then most do in many more.  You were so beautiful, fun, outgoing, brave, happy, honest, bold.  We would laugh so hard together.  We laughed so much together.  She was a light in a dark room.  She could make you feel better about any situation.  Her laugh was the best!  Kayla was the brightest light I’ve ever known.  Good friends are hard to come by, but a friend like you was once in a lifetime.  I’m so happy to have known and loved your incredibly infectious laugh and smile, you always had an infectious smile and a hug to give.  You were a part of every circle, making a difference in a lot of lives.  She always had a smile on her face.  Kayla you have always had a spark of fun and you were electrifying.  I loved you.  I will always miss your sweet face and your contagious laugh.  You are still such a ray of vibrant light.  Brilliant, sassy, infectious laughter and nothing but good memories.  Kayla your energy your kindness and your fun spirited lifestyle you were such A joy and A wonderful person.  Infectious smile, Infectious personality, lived life unapologetically, truly one of a kind.  Our lives were brighter with you in it.  She lived her best life.

Surviving are her parents; siblings, James Deneau of Kalamazoo, Samuel Deneau of Kalamazoo and Samantha Northrup of Kalamazoo; nephews, Aiden Eric and Jace Lee; grandmother, Trena Meeter along with many aunts, uncles and cousins.

She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Rev. Marvin Meeter and Burtie and James Deneau and by her uncle, Dave Deneau.

Cremation has taken place.

Friends may visit with Kayla’s family starting at 10:00 A.M., Thursday, September 9, 2021 at Otsego United Methodist Church until the time of the memorial service at 11:00 A.M., with Pastor Joe Shaler officiating.

For those unable to attend, a live stream of the service will be available at


Contributions in memory of Kayla may be made to

Otsego United Methodist Church


Christian Neighbors


Messages of condolence may be posted at


Offer Condolence for the family of Kayla L. Deneau

Condolence Messages

Tammy Bailey

August 29, 2021 at 6:12 pm

Dear Deneau family,

We cannot imaging the pain you are experiencing from the loss of your beautiful Kayla. We pray to God that you will feel the love being sent your way.

Love to all,

Bob and Tammy (Merrill) Bailey


Josi Pape

August 30, 2021 at 6:24 pm

Jim and Ellyn, and boys.

There is nothing to say for the loss of your beautiful Kayla. Her obituary describes how I would love to remember her. Always a big smile on her face.

May God give you the strength to face the days ahead. You have many many people who love you, and will help you in anyway possible.

With love, Josie Pape


Brian Tice

August 29, 2021 at 6:49 pm

Jim & Ellyn: Sincerest condolences to you and your family and all who knew Kayla. I haven’t been around her since she was a kid… but I remember her as always happy, smiling, and friendly. May her memory forever be a blessing, and may He who rules both Heaven and Earth comfort you during this difficult time.


Agnes and Mike Vanarsdal

August 29, 2021 at 7:38 pm

Jim, Ellyn, James, Samuel, Samanth, Aiden and Jace,

I am beyond sorry for your loss. I loved reading everything that Kayla’s friend wrote about her life.

It is totally amazing how many lives she touched in a short 32 years.

May God’s Almighty Grace be with each of you in the days to come.

In Christ Love,

Mike and Agnes Vanarsdal


Sherry and Ken Schumaker

August 29, 2021 at 8:06 pm

Sending prayers to this family. Your loss is unimaginable and we are asking God for peace and comfort,


Susan Pillars

August 29, 2021 at 9:18 pm

Jim and Ellyn, the worst that can ever happen is to lose a child. The pain you feel is so raw. Your lives are forever changed. The only legacy that we leave when we go are memories. Kayla was happy and beautiful and left everyone she met with precious memories. My sons been gone twenty years and I hold those gifts he gave me close to my heart. I hope you feel my love. Susan Pillars


Lorna Sisson

August 29, 2021 at 10:20 pm

Dearest Ellyn, Jim and family .

There are no words for the pain and heartache we feel for all of you in this sudden tragedy. We pray God will hold you close and give you peace in the lovely words shared by Kayla’s friends in her obituary. May The light of Christ surround you with Kayla’s lovely spirit through your cherished memories.

Pray you feel the love and concern from all of us who care so deeply for you. Love you so much, Lorna and Craig.


Debbie Dines Benzie

August 30, 2021 at 10:03 am

Jim and Ellyn,

What a beautiful person she was in side and out. She made such an impact on a lot of people’s lives.. she’s so loved by all. Sending prayers to you.


Diana & Greg Morris

August 29, 2021 at 11:16 pm

Dear Ellyn and Jim, I don’t have the words to share with you. I am so, so sorry. I can’t imagine the pain you’re all going thru.

God’s peace, & strength to you all.

Diana and Greg Morris. ❤️❤️


Sally Netzner

August 30, 2021 at 6:33 am

Am so saddened to hear of your loss. Love and prayers sent to you.


Larry and Fran Hill

August 30, 2021 at 8:18 am

Dear Jim and Ellyn,

We are terribly saddened with your sudden loss of Kayla. We are praying for God’s love and comfort to surround you through family, friends and your church family.

With deepest sympathy

Larry and Fran


Sue Bricker

August 30, 2021 at 1:46 pm

So very sorry for the passing of Kayla.


Dawn Cook

August 30, 2021 at 4:09 pm

Ellyn and Jim,

My sincere condolences to you and your family on Kayla’s passing. May the Love of our Lord God be with you during this unimaginable time.

Love in Christ



Mary (Hop) Griffin

August 30, 2021 at 4:17 pm

Ellyn & family,

Our family was saddened to hear of your daughter Kayla’s passing. Know that we are thinking of you and praying for you and your family.


Ann Russell

August 30, 2021 at 5:35 pm

Jim, Ellyn and family,

We hope you feel God’s love surrounding you during this time. This is such a terrible loss. You are in our prayers!

Craig and Ann Russell


Linda Childress

August 30, 2021 at 5:46 pm

My heart breaks for you and I am without words.


Wendy Hendricks Moyer

August 30, 2021 at 6:10 pm

Brian and I send our love and prayers to Jim and Ellyn and their family. We are heartbroken for your loss


Angela Corradini

August 30, 2021 at 6:22 pm

Ellyn & Jim-

You made and raised such a dynamic, lovely young lady! Her time cut short doesn’t lessen the blessing and impact that she was on y’all. She truly was your “Minnie Me” Ellyn—vibrant, fun and a presence in any room! Prayers, for you all. Deeply sorry. My mom heart aches for you.


Nancy Jo Lyons

August 31, 2021 at 9:20 am

Ellyn & Jim

Sending prayers for your family. Our hearts are breaking for you.

Just a beautiful daughter inside and out know so many people are

praying and sending to you.

Love you

Nancy & Ron Lyons


Marv and Laurie Klooster

August 31, 2021 at 10:34 am

Ellyn , Jim, and Family,

You are in our prayers at this very difficult time in your lives.

Marv and Laurie Klooster


Tim and Dana Kiel Family

August 31, 2021 at 3:43 pm

Deneau Family,

Words cannot express our heartache for your family at this time.

Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers. XOXO


Ronnie Marks

September 1, 2021 at 4:43 pm

Jim and Ellyn, I extend my deepest sympathy to you and all your family and friends.


Laurie & Tim Andrus

September 2, 2021 at 7:54 am

Ellyn & Jim,

There are no words that can heal your broken hearts. Our hearts ache for your family. We pray that your memories of your beautiful daughter and knowing she is in heaven can carry you through.

Laurie & Tim


John and Marlene Cutler

September 2, 2021 at 9:40 am

We are so sorry for your loss. Our prayers and thoughts are with you.


Joyce McClellan

September 2, 2021 at 8:40 pm

Sending our love and prayers to all at this difficult time. Cherish your precious memories always. ❤️ Joyce & Dan McClellan


Debbie And

September 3, 2021 at 1:37 pm

Jim , Ellyn, & Boys, I am so sorry for your loss of Kayla. Praying God wraps you in his loving arms and gives you the strength and peace you all need in this very difficult time.


Lori Ann Slaughter

September 9, 2021 at 1:18 pm

My condolences to Kayla’s family.

I am so sorry for your loss.

Lori Slaughter


Kathy (Meeter)Schmied

September 9, 2021 at 5:15 pm

Dear Ellyn, Jim, Jimmy, Sami, I am so sorry… I knew Kayla as a Baby and many years beyond. My thoughts are with you today. „because I could not stop for death „ …. and he carried me to a new life…Emily Dickinson . Thinking of you…..♥️ Kathy, Alex and Emi


Joe cook

September 10, 2021 at 4:36 pm

Kayla and I weren’t that close but I know for a fact she impacted everyone’s life she came in contact with and she was always a positive ly happy and always made people she was near happier


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