Family Login:

Gwendolyn Willow GORT

Share This Obituary
Resources



Memories & Candles

“We read of the loss of this wonderful person tonight. We never met Gwen, or every heard of her until today. We and our children were so uplifted and...Read More »
1 of 5 | Posted by: The Hofstra-Christ Family - CA

“Tim & Regina-We are so sorry to hear about your loss. You are in our thoughts and prayers.Bob & Karen Kaiser, Byron Center, Mi ”
2 of 5 | Posted by: A friend

“Our sincerest sympathy in the loss of your precious child. ”
3 of 5 | Posted by: Denise and Kent Koehn - MI

“I extend my heartfelt sympathy in the loss of your beloved daughter and sister, I'm sure that she was well loved by all who knew her, despite living...Read More »
4 of 5 | Posted by: A friend

“I'm so very sorry to hear about Gwendolyn. You gave her a blessed life for the 14 years she was here on earth. Please know that you are all in my...Read More »
5 of 5 | Posted by: Joelle Olsen


Gwendolyn Willow Gort, 14, of Gwinn, returned to the stars from which she came at her home, while in the loving care of her parents, Friday, January 20, 2017. Born September 29, 2002, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, daughter of Timothy and Regina (Papaleo) Gort, "Gwenny Penny" touched the lives of so many people that it's difficult to truly know the size of her fan-base. Considered a diva by many, she was often compared to Céline Deon and Beyoncé because her taste in music, high fashion and nail design were fierce. Despite being born with cerebral palsy that severely limited her physically, Gwen was emotionally and mentally advanced. She had a profound understanding of the world in which she lived and a dark sense of humor that entertained her family and caregivers. Gwen's personality was nothing short of adventurous. At an early age, she loved the outdoors and pioneered routine hikes with her parents (mostly on non-wheelchair accessible paths) through the woods, rocks, sand and snow. The treks prepared her for summer adventures in Michigan's Upper Peninsula where she moved in 2012. Gwen has climbed mountains, backpacked and camped along Lake Michigan with her dad, participated in the Rhoades McKee Reeds Lake Triathlon and explored many waterways by sailboat, trawler and yacht, including Lakes Michigan and Superior. In 2014, Gwen was granted a wish from Make-A-Wish Michigan, making her dream to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter come true. She and her family embarked on their first "planes, trains and automobile" trip to Florida, where they stayed at Give the Kids the World Village. The Village hosted accommodations for children with life-threating illnesses and their families. Gwen became part of a nationwide community of families who've endure similar medical challenges while also having fun at Florida's stockpile of awesome theme parks. Gwen's quality of life increased so much by the wish she returned to the Florida and the Village year-after-year. In 2016, she completed an epic three-month road trip with her family and two caregivers that originated in Florida. She also traveled to the mountains of New Mexico, through the Mississippi delta and to the Outerbanks of North Carolina. Gwen celebrated an extended summer on sandy beaches with Atlantic Ocean breezes and humid temperatures. She enjoyed being read to, listening to books on tape and watching movies. Her favorite movies were Incredibles and Monsters Versus Aliens. She had a passion for learning about the cosmos and astronomy (Carl Sagan would've approved), giving her an immeasurable intellect and a desire to continuously learn. Gwen had a legendary smile that could ignite a room, especially when it was combined with her infectious laughter. Her radiance was enjoyed by a loving group of people, including her best friends Hannah and Olivia, in addition to Bryan, who she also admired very much. She loved, and was loved, by so many, including her vast network of caregivers (Krysta, Miranda, Carli and more), teachers, friends and family. Surviving are her parents, Tim and Regina Gort of Gwinn, MI; siblings, Violet and Eliza; maternal grandparents, Carol and Juan Papaleo of Marquette, MI; paternal grandparents Russell and Barbara (Crain) Gort of Newaygo, MI; paternal grandfather William M. Beech of Byron Center, MI; numerous aunts, uncles, cousins. Preceding her in death by her identical twin sister, Gabrielle Sophia Gort, (2002), and her paternal, grandmother, Cynthia Lynn Beech (2007). A Celebration of Life will be held Thursday, January 26, 2017, at the St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 201 E Ridge Street, Marquette, MI at 4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to be sent to Give Kids the World Village (Kissimmee, FL), Make-A-Wish Michigan or the Family Hope Foundation (Grand Rapids). There will also be a memorial on April 27, 2017, at the Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain St NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, 11 a.m. The Canale-Gwinn Funeral Home is assisting the family where memories may be shared at canalefuneral.com

Upcoming Funeral Services
Funeral Service

Pending