Kristi "Sissy" Gale ()Jordan Marinez

14 January, 196226 August, 2020
Play Tribute Movie

Kristi Gale Marinez peacefully passed away on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 at Onslow Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, NC while being loved on and held by her family and listening to music & audio of her with her children and grandchildren. She was born on January 14th, 1962 to George and Sandy Jordan in Upland, California. She was raised in Ontario, California and attended Chaffey High School. She was a paralegal and medical assistant as well as a probation community service officer. But more than anything she was a loving wife and mother.

Kris is survived by her parents George & Sandy; her husband Rob, of 35 years; her children, Marty (Country), Shannon, and Robby (Shawna); her brother, Jeff (Dena) and her sister, Kerri Holsten (Mike); her grandchildren ShyAnn, Brittney, Darrian, Tristan, Hayden, Alaina, Kyrie, Robert and Jordan and one great grandchild Holden; her sister in love Cindy and many loved nieces and nephews. She will be greatly missed.


  • Celebration of Life

    Saturday, 10 October , 2020


Kristi "Sissy" Gale ()Jordan Marinez

have a memory or condolence to add?

Shannon Bunn

October 22, 2020

Me, my father and my brothers lost my mother unexpectedly on the night of August 26, 2020. This has been the worst days of my life.

My mother married a Marine who later became a police officer. She supported him during desert storm while raising us 3 kids. She then became my fathers care taker after he was shot in the head while executing an arrest warrant.

My mother raised us to value service to others. All three of her children served honorable in the Armed Forces. She also endured sending both of her sons to Iraq while they were apart of the Army Infantry.

My mother had a servants heart and would do anything in the world for her family. She was the best advocate to have on your side but can be your worse enemy if you crossed someone she loved.

My mother is my best friend and my hero. I’ll never understand why this happened and the void will never be filled. Please take a moment with me to honor this incredible patriotic woman.

Shannon Bunn

October 22, 2020

As a child my mother has a special song for each of her kids. She would always sing to me “hey lady why you crying do those tears belong to me” while rubbing my face and then I would do the same back to her. She has an incredible way of making each one of us feel special and important. She is the only person I know that can have a special bond with so many people and all of us would call her “our best friend”
I loved the time I spent with her. When she told stories, she captivated the room. My mother was simply put the greatest woman I ever knew. She was an incredible wife, an incredible mother to us kids, an incredible grandmother, an incredible daughter, an incredible Aunt, an incredible teacher and best friend. No matter the hat or title she wore or the role she played, she was the best at it. She taught me so many lessons in life. I never stop moving and try to stay busy because of her. She would always tell me “idle hands are the devil’s playground.” And would text me to see what was on my agenda for the day. It is sad that she is gone and quite frankly a complete tragedy for us, but I know in heaven she is dancing in the sky while visiting with her grandparents whom she loved and missed so dearly.
I miss you momma and I love you more then words can even describe. You are and forever will be my best friend. God loved you and now your home. I will see you again someday and I look forward to being in the arms again of the woman that brought me into this world.
Grief is the final act of love ❤️
My heart hears you, I feel you everywhere and I’m so grateful that I had you 🙏 😇

Shannon Bunn

October 22, 2020

What can I say about the worlds greatest mother? My momma was kind, she was more than fair, she was sweet but feisty, and was so loving and giving. She cared with a passion unlike anything I have ever seen.

To me when times were tough, she would be the rock that I take my goliaths down with. She worked hard at everything she put her hands on and created magic. She touched so many. When my mother loved you, she would love with everything she had in her. There were no obstacles, no problems too big to handle for her. I always felt safe in this world because I knew no matter what comes my way momma would fix it. She had a way of fixing anything. She loved life and her family so much. The blessing for me was getting to love her back.

Every morning I would wake up to a morning text from my mother “Good morning Sunshine. Have a blessed day and be a blessing to others.” I loved my mornings with her. As a kid I would wake up to the smell of bacon and potatoes frying in a pan. Our morning talks and coffee. Mom was a ray of sunshine in the mornings. She never missed an event for her kids, grandkids or nieces and nephews. Mom was the first person to celebrate those she loved. Today it is an honor to celebrate the woman who gave up so much of herself for others.

I always knew I was lucky growing up. I would look for her when I scored a goal (which was only once), looked for her when I won an award, when I graduated bootcamp and got thrashed by my drill instructors for having a huge grin on my face when I spotted that beautiful blonde blue eyed woman, looked for her when I needed a shoulder to cry on, looked for her for it all. But it was not until I grew up as a woman that I really saw her. I saw all the sacrifices she made, all the selflessness she showed and all the patience she had. There was a blessing in loving her. Loving all of her.

Brittney Martin

October 20, 2020

Grandma was a strong, loving woman. She always looked out for her family. She never hesitated to be there for any of us when we needed her. She was always truly invested in all of us. I had the pleasure of learning so much from her. She taught me to always work my hardest. There were no excuses good enough to not do your best. She led a lot through her actions, and she was definitely no pushover. She protected those she loved. She loved deeply and strongly. She taught me to love without fear. Now scattered among us, are of course her recipes, and she taught us her tips and tricks with those. She always told me to never stop trying. That life is full of a lot of crap but there is always good in it. To always remember the good and to always be grateful. She was a smart, funny, kind, woman. She has definitely left a hole behind, but she was loved, and loved all of us immensely. I strive to have her strength to make people know I love them no matter what. She will be forever loved and missed.

Haley Wolters

October 16, 2020

I was just getting the pleasure of getting to know Kris. The most memorable time I have with her was when she came to stay in mine and Shyann’s home. All of us sat in the living room all night just talked. Man, the stores that woman told were so vivid and wild. I loved sitting and listening to her stories, most of them were funny stories where she had me laughing the entire time. Every time I saw her she made sure to say hello to me and ask how I was, even if she was on her way to go somewhere. I also knew that there wasn’t anything in this world that she loved more than her family. She is already so greatly missed.


October 16, 2020

When Country had go to Arizona. Ms.Kris had took over the daycare. Honor was always the last child to get picked up then. Kris always had a plate of food made for me. We would sit on the front porch swing , I would eat the food while she would tell me a story with some type of wisdom with it.

Amanda McLaughlin

October 16, 2020

One of my favorite memories is when you all would come over each year for Thanksgiving. You always brightened the holiday with your laughter and jokes. You would bring a honey baked ham and green bean casserole and we would all enjoy a meal together, then take family photos. You would give us crap about not having football on or letting you keep the kids for the summer. But you did it in a funny way. You were never afraid to be yourself.
You always told me how much you loved our family and how much you enjoyed my kiddos. When you noticed me struggling to raise my son in his new stages of life, you took the time to call me and give me advice on how I can help him. One thing you said was “just be patient” “This is the Walka Walka stage. It’s a horrible stage, but you will get through it”. You had a way of saying things that sometimes seemed crazy, but made perfect sense. You even came up with weird names for the stages of growth, lol.
If I could talk to you one last time I would say, thank you. Thank you for caring enough to help me through being a mom and caring enough to notice that I was struggling. Thank you for loving on my babies and giving them advice when they needed it. Thank you for being there for them, when you didn’t have to. Thank you for showing me that it is good enough to just be yourself. You have been an inspiring woman in my life and I promise to do my best to take in each moment of being a mother. I promise to work on bringing more laughter and fun in my home. I’m not going to lie, I don’t even want to celebrate Thanksgiving, because I don’t know what that looks like without you. However, I will move forward and try to see the positive, because I know that is what you would want. For us to miss you and love you, but to work hard at living our best life. I love you Kris.

Ryan & Michaela Phatinawin

October 16, 2020

Losing Auntie Kris has been one of the most painful experiences of my life. We mourn every day that you aren't here to see our kids grow up. Lexi is so much like you, she is a sweet caretaker, sassy and loves attention. One of my favorite memories is when you flew into California the night Lexi was born. The first thing you said was "Oh my gosh, she's beautiful, she has a c-section head!" You always knew how to make us smile. You would have loved Ronan. He's so handsome and happy. He loves to snuggle and make funny faces. We carry your memories with us every day. I dread my birthday without you but we thank the Lord you aren't suffering, rather you are basking in the warmth of His love and glory. Until we meet again! Love you Auntie!
Ryan, Micha, Lexi & Ronan

Anita Wheatley

October 16, 2020

My friendship with Kris started through Rob at work, because of a shared love of reading, and authors in common. It has continued, grown and evolved through shared life events over the years and miles. I love her and consider her one of my closest friends. Thank God I know she is resting in the arms of Jesus now. Rest in peace Kris.

Kyrie Martin

October 16, 2020

. Most summers I would just go for a week or two, and then come back home. But this summer, I practically lived at their house. I don’t know why I wanted to be there so often this summer, but I am so thankful that I got to spend so much time with her.

My Grandma had a weird sense of humor, I mean, she would laugh at the oddest things, but one thing I hope I’ll never forget is her laugh. It was so unique and loud, that when she laughed, there was no mistaking her for anyone else. I know that’s an odd way of describing someone’s laugh, but there’s really no other way to put it. Her laugh was just loud and crazy.

One of my favorite memories of her took place this summer. We were at her house and she was teaching me how to make Pimento Cheese. She was telling me about her Grandpa and the summers she spent making the same thing with him. I guess I just liked hearing about her childhood. Another one of my favorite memories of her was our trip to Disney Land. I was only like 5 or 6, but I remember how excited I was to go. I remember one of the days when we were already there, some of my Dad’s cousins came with us. I remember being so jealous that Alana and Hayden got to go with them for the day when I had to stick with my Grandparents and younger cousins. Looking back, that was probably one of my favorite days with my Grandma, and I’m so glad I stayed with her.

My Grandma’s has always been a huge part of my life, and I honestly don’t know how to function properly without knowing that she’s just a phone call away. I’m going to miss her so much, but I am so blessed to have had 13 with her.



My oldest daughter recently said that her grandma treated love like a verb. She’s right. My momma taught me many lessons in her too short life, but how to love was the most important one.

I’m probably going to come off as implying that Momma was the embodiment of love and should be sainted. I have to be careful because this would have horrified my mom. She believed that people were dishonest when someone died about who that person really was. She was so worried about this happening to her, that she charged some of her grandchildren to be on the lookout for this. “Don’t let people lie about me,” she’d tell them. “I don’t want people saying I was a saint.”

Mom was very aware of her flaws and she wanted to make sure that she was remembered properly. Warts and all. Not because she didn’t like herself. Quite the opposite actually. Mom really liked her warts. There’s a good chance that you don’t get how profound that is. It took me a long time to see it.

Jesus was once asked what the greatest commandment was. He said to love God with all of your being. My momma definitely did that. Mom prayed more than anyone I have ever known. If she wasn’t talking to someone, she was talking to God. Almost every night she fell asleep mid-conversation with God.

Love God with all of your being, but he didn’t stop there. He said the second greatest commandment is to love others as you love yourself. I believe this is both a command and a limitation. It’s my contention that you value others in direct proportion with how much you believe you should be valued. Mom believed she was valuable, so she could value others. Lesson 1: Love starts with liking yourself.

Mom didn’t like the idea of posturing. She wore her heart on her sleeve and what you saw is what you got. It didn’t matter who Mom was around or where she was, she was genuinely her. And that kind of sincerity was infectious. She loved and accepted you for you. No clauses, no conditions, no facades. This is the other reason she didn’t want to be whitewashed at her Celebration of Life: she wants us to love her like she loved us. Lesson 2: Love is unashamed

So, before I get too far into all the things that people outside of her circle would appreciate about her, and before one of my kids gets up here to tackle me for trying to saint their grandma, let me list a few warts.

1. Mom had no patience for other drivers. Especially if they went under the speed limit.
2. At times, she cursed like a marine. Those times often included other drivers going under the freaking speed limit.
3. She had no filter whatsoever. She was fond of saying that sometimes she even offended herself when she spoke.
4. She never took a relationship or a person for granted, but she did often take her health for granted.
5. She was protective to the point of psychotic. The stories here abound, but I remember being in elementary school and trying to decide if telling my mom about a teacher being mean to me was worth ruining that teacher’s life.
6. She often farted in public and blamed it on you. That always tickled her.
7. About once a quarter she would have a meltdown over something minor. Dishes were shattered, threats were made, shoes were thrown, wire hangers, wrestling, and bedlam ensued. Ten minutes later she’d be laughing about how crazy she was and telling you she loved you.
8. Mom never lied, per se, but she did love a great story even if that story was embellished a little. Or a lot. She’d say it was just making the story more interesting. When she was little, her mom told the neighbors to believe half of what she says and then divide that by 2.
9. While Mom wasn’t a liar, if she did decide to lie, she had Jusie Smolett level commitment. Once, when she was a teen, she and my uncle decided to have some friends over. When my grandpa suspected alcohol he confronted them about it. My uncle quickly admitted that they were drinking but my mom, undeterred by being caught redhanded or the confession of her co-conspirator and slurring every word, swore that she would never do something like that. She rode that boat to the bottom of the ocean. When I was eleven I had a ferret named Ricky Ticky. Now, I’ll admit this bastard was mean. He bit everyone and stole anything that was shiny. But I loved that mean little bastard. Mom did not. Eventually Mom got tired of him and he disappeared. What did she do with him? Who knows? Because rather than tell me, she decided to gaslight me. Not only was Ricky Ticky gone, Ricky Ticky never existed. I was eleven. I’m forty-one. She died swearing Ricky Ticky wasn’t real. If my dad didn’t confirm its existence I would have needed to see a psychiatrist at some point about an imaginary ferret!
10. The less appropriate laughter was in a given situation, the more likely Mom was to laugh.
11. Mom had an irrational fear about someone wearing her skin. Or at least we all thought it was irrational until the donor team wanted her freaking skin for someone else to wear.

Not once in my entire life did my mom reject a hug or a kiss. From the day I took my first breath to the day she took her last, I had never known a night where I slept under the yolk of my mother’s anger or resentment. Lesson 3: Love is not a weapon and is never withdrawn.

My childhood was full of laughter and affection. Momma made the good times magical and the bad times bearable. I’d even go as far as to say she often made the bad times enjoyable. Lesson 4: Love and laughter are the best bedfellows.

There will almost certainly be stories told today about my mom doing something borderline psychotic to protect someone she loved. Maybe its flinging her 16 year old son aside to beat the crap out of a forty year old man who threatened him, or a highspeed chase of three women, each twice her size, who bullied her daughter and threatening their loved ones as they huddled inside their home and called the police for protection. Or how she took the very soul of a teacher who acted unfairly toward her baby. Each story is more epic than the last, but the lessons are simple. Lessons 5 and 6: Love is loyal, and love protects at all costs.

Mom encouraged, even demanded, that my siblings and I join the service. She did this having already sent her husband to a war. She did it against her protective nature, knowing we would suffer discomfort at the very least. She even did it with her youngest who was joining the infantry during wartime. I can hear her voice now, repeating a common refrain from my childhood. “Stand up and be counted for, Marty. Stand up and be counted for.” Lesson 7: Love encourages you to live your convictions, even when it’s dangerous. Especially when it’s dangerous.

Mom called me and my brother every couple of days. I know she called my sister and my wife daily. She talked to each one of my kids no less than weekly. She called her parents daily. Mom didn’t wait for you to call and she didn’t concern herself with how often you called her. She just wanted to enjoy you. Lesson 8: Love pursues

My mom was at almost every major event, celebration, graduation and crises for her parents, siblings, children, grandchildren and nieces and nephews. She didn’t send well-wishes, or facebook posts, or cards; she came, and she contributed, and she fought for you, and she enjoyed you and made it more enjoyable with her infectious laughter. Lesson 9: Love shows up

When she was young, she used to take her little sister, whom she referred to back then as “my baby” to the local graveyard to have picnics. A few weeks before she died, she told my daughter, Alaina, to stop worrying about her little cousin spilling her milkshake and just enjoy the moment. Lesson 10: Love is graveyard picnics and spilled milkshakes.

She loved her husband. When my dad was shot, my mom taught me the most important lesson I’ve ever learned about love in a marriage. It took two months for my dad to leave the hospital after he was shot. My mom never left his side for longer than an hour. She slept in a hospital chair beside him because she didn’t trust anyone to love and care for him like she could. Because she didn’t want him to be alone. Lesson 11: Love is choosing the chair in a hospital room every night when nobody would think less of you for sleeping in a bed.

My grandpa has diabetes and like many diabetics, his feet tend to suffer from it. For years my mom has taken it upon herself to get down on her knees and tend to her daddy’s feet. The last time I was visiting my grandparents, my parents flew in at the tail end of our trip. Mom walked in, went to the bathroom and then immediately got to her knees in front of grandpa. She cleaned, dried, massaged and bandaged his feet before she even unpacked. Most of us would have done it if we were asked, but you never had to ask mom. She just did. I don’t know what to name this rule, so I’ll go with Lesson 12: Love is washing your daddy’s feet.

She spent the last years of her life dividing her time between being with her parents in California and being here. Grandma and Grandpa are in their twilight years and Mom was soaking up every moment she could with them. When she was home, she didn’t string three days together without one or more of her grandchildren or great niece and nephew being at the house with her. I once heard a preacher say, “Don’t tell me what’s important to you. Show me where you spend your time and I’ll tell you what’s important to you.” Lesson 13: Love is time spent

I’ve done an informal poll of her loved ones. As far as I can tell, one of the very last things she said or texted to each of us was “I love you.” For many of us it was both the last thing she said and the last thing she texted. Momma didn’t expect to die, that’s just how she lived her life. Lesson 14: Love isn’t JUST about what you say, but it is ALSO about what you say.

My mom’s life was much shorter than most people get these days, but she lived it well. Mom was fond of saying, “This too shall pass.” Most would apply that to times like right now and take comfort in it. Mom certainly did. But she also lived that sentence out in the good times. She squeezed every drop of life and love out of every relationship and moment that she could. She left nothing on the table and nobody to wonder where they stood with her or how she felt about them. And that brings me to the final lesson.

This last lesson about love I didn’t learn from Momma until after she died and it’s a tough one. My grief is nearly unbearable at times. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in sorrow and all the joy has been striped from the world. I find myself baffled and unable to make sense of a world that doesn’t have my momma’s laughter in it. But grief is the cost of love. It’s the promissory note you sign in every important relationship, whether you realize it or not. If you love someone, they will one day mourn you or you will one day mourn them. So here it is, the final lesson. Lesson 15: Love is being worth the price someone will have to pay for loving you.

Learn more about the Marinez name