Feb 22, 2008 - Jun 05, 2021


February 22, 2008 - June 05, 2021


Makayla Hillier, 13, died unexpectedly on June 5, 2021 at OSF St. Francis Hospital in Escanaba, MI after a tragic accident. She liked to be called by her first name, "Kayla" or "Bean."

Makayla was born February 22, 2008 in Marquette, MI to her mother, Sandra Hillier, and father, Matthew Hillier. Her sisters Emma Hillier and Alison Hillier were excited to have a new sister. The three girls grew not only to be loyal sisters, but also best friends. Of course, there were squabbles, but they loved each other unconditionally. Her blended family grew in recent years to include her father's partner Angela Verberg and her mother's partner Curtis Cappaert and his two children, Connor and Morgan Cappaert. Makayla was adored by her grandparents, Terry "Gramps" and Debbie "Lulubell" Hillier and Jim "Papa" and Joanne "Grammy" McDonald. She was blessed with Godparents, Chuck and Barbara Markievicz, who were also her great uncle and great aunt. She was beloved by a great many additional aunts and uncles, cousins, extended family and friends. Makayla finally had her first dog in her home a couple years ago, an awesome chihuahua named Bubba. Most recently we got another tiny family dog, her first experience with a puppy, and she helped name the little guy Nugget. During her too-short 13 years with us on this earth, she knew she was surrounded by love.

Makayla was a precious little baby who was rather quiet and observant. Her sisters provided plenty of commotion to watch! She continued to be a very affectionate child as she grew and developed a more inquisitive personality. She was creative and intelligent. She was fascinated with how things worked and how to make new creations. This was evident when she took apart an end table in the living room with a mini-screwdriver when she wasn't even in kindergarten yet. In kindergarten, she had a plan to make a working astronaut suit complete with the McDonalds happy meal box that she proudly wore on her head as a helmet at home while sharing her plans.

In elementary and middle school, she enjoyed math and reading. When she was little, she liked Dr. Suess books, then she went through a poetry phase where Sheil Silverstein's "Where the Sidewalk Ends" was her favorite, and more recently she loved reading original comics online. She followed her sisters' lead and found anime fascinating, especially the art styles and music that went with the shows. She learned to draw and became really quite good. Her most recent accomplishment was the ability to freehand draw characters with a reference image with excellent results. Her love of art included more than just drawing and music, she branched out into whatever medium she could get her hands on. She had a phase where making homemade slime was the thing to do, eventually resulting with a permanent blue stain on the kitchen ceiling! Then she really got into modeling the Sculpey clay where she made adorable miniatures. She went through an origami phase and always enjoyed painting. She was the most interested in anything that was handmade, one-of-a kind or otherwise unique just like she was. Makayla loved describing herself as "weird," because she said "normal is boring" and preferred to embrace her quirky silly personality. She was a sweet girl and loved to cuddle the people (and pets!) that she held dear right up to the day she passed away.

A Celebration of Life for Makayla will be held on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at Little Lake Chapel on M 35 in Little Lake, MI, near Gwinn. Visitation will take place from 3-4 p.m. where picture boards and some of her artwork will be displayed. The service will begin at 4 p.m. and will include an opportunity to those who attend to speak or share a memory of our Makayla. If anyone would like to share words but not have to speak in public, feel free to write it down and give it to Pastor Ron Westman prior to 4 p.m. and he can read it for you. Also, Kayla's sisters would feel more comfortable if those attending will wear a mask whether or not they are vaccinated please. Also, the family requests that friends and family wear clothes other than traditional funeral black in honor of Kayla and her love of colors. Makayla's Celebration of Life will be livestreamed at

For those that wish to give, donations will be accepted in lieu of flowers. Funds received in excess of service expenses will be divided between living expenses to allow Makayla's parents to spend more time at home with her sisters prior to returning to work and an account for Makayla's sisters Emma and Alison to be used when they have needs in the future. Further information for donating will be listed on Facebook under Sandra Hillier and Crystal Cummings and also on the Canale Funeral Home website.

The outpouring of love and support from those who were touched by Makayla's life are so appreciated. We thank everyone who have given condolences, help with the services, and gifts of cards and food to the family. Please hold your babies just a little bit closer tonight and pray that friends and family find comfort in the love we shared with Makayla and that her soul finds peace and joy in Heaven.

Canale Gwinn Funeral Home and Cremation Services is assisting Makayla's family where memories may be shared at

To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of MAKAYLA JEAN HILLIER, please visit our Tribute Store


Wed, Jun 16, 2021 at 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Little Lake Chapel

Little Lake, MI 49833

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Memorial Service
Wed, Jun 16, 2021 at 4:00 pm
Little Lake Chapel

Little Lake, MI 49833

Makayla's Celebration of Life will be livestreamed at's family is asking you to please wear a mask if able and to wear bright colors.

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