My father was the most kind and gentle man I know. He filled many roles during his life but most importantly he is my dad.
I remember spending a day with him in his office at work. I remember meeting him at the bus stop as he came home from work. I remember helping him by turning the pages for the hundreds of law exams he read. He helped me make a wooden frame for a stitchery I did once. He gave me many fathers blessings over the years.
In a family role he helped wash dishes after meals. As a family we went on trips in the summer. In Wisconsin our yard was shaded with lots of trees so he was our cheerleader as we raked the leaves in the Fall. He was sure we knew about our ancestors through books, stories and reunions. Daddy would walk on his hands and loved to recite the Jabberwocky adding his own actions.
He loved music. He played for enjoyment and as we sang. Each of us practiced piano and in a loud voice from a different room he would say 'wrong note'. He accompanied me as I played my bassoon solos. He taught us family songs that we still sing and enjoy today. He taught us Dutch St. Nickolas songs he learned on his mission. I learned to love music too. Because we only got one session of General Conference in Wisconsin I tried to find my Aunt Bobby who sang with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and was proud when did.
He loved the Lord. He served a mission and served in many church callings. He was bishop twice and served in a BYU Stake Presidency. In Wisconsin he helped build the chapel we met in for many years.
My dad was a wonderful man. Some descriptions my kids gave of him are loving, genuine, noble, honorable, kind, wise, strong, temperate, authentic, witty and grateful. You may have you own description of him but he is my dad and I love him.
Dad loved music. He was my first piano teacher. He taught me to sing parts during Church. Dad kept a harmonica, a jaw harp, a kazoo, and other small instruments in his desk drawer. He often played one while thinking, or to entertain me.
Dad loved sports. Because of polio, he did not play basketball or football or tennis, but when I sat next to him at my four brothers’ wrestling matches, I watched him get as much of a work out as they did. Dad was a University of Utah fan and a BYU cougar fan.
Dad instilled frugality and taught me how to prepare leftovers. This is his recipe (when Mother was out): 1. Find all the leftovers in the refrigerator and empty them into a saucepan, 2. Add one can cream of mushroom soup, and 3. Heat until warm.
Dad was a top-notch editor. I remember him (at my request) taking just five minutes to mark my rambling three-page high school English essay and turning it into two coherent paragraphs.
Dad honored the priesthood. When I was 21, I asked for a priesthood blessing quite late at night. He said, after a question or two, “I’ll be there in three minutes.” He dressed – complete in a white shirt – and gave me a blessing.
Dad taught me in his learning. He taught me about being fair to the penny and generous to the dollar. He taught me the strength of quiet faith by living quietly faithfully. When I realized that one of the people I most admired was Dad – how I he thought and how considerate he was of other people’s thoughts – I became one of his students at the law school.
Dad built others. I cannot count the times he commented – simply because I was there and just because he could -- what has become a phrase of his I will most miss: “You’re a gem.” He kept a few of his father’s pre-stamped penny postcards in his desk to remind himself how easy it was to send a note of appreciation.
Recently, during a visit, Dad expressed a last wish, saying, “I just want to be remembered as a loving father.”
As with my writing, Dad, you’ve put a concise name to my memory: I remember you as a loving father.
I am grateful to our Heavenly Father for all loving earthly mothers and fathers. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
"…Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave…"
To borrow my Dad’s phrase, “Ed Kimball is gone,” and I will miss the physical presence of his wit, wisdom and warmth. I’ll miss his strong, harmonious singing voice; his humor and wry smile; his tender hand. It has brought me some measure of comfort to think of the aspects of him that I can continue to have with me in all that he has given us through the years.
I once told him that I thought he knew how to do everything, when I was young. He could play, not only the piano, but the harmonica, the accordion, the trumpet, the triangle and more. He could walk on his hands, juggle and could recite from memory several, long poems. He listened to me laud his abilities and then he chuckled. He certainly tinkered with all lot of interests, but said he that didn’t know everything. From him I learned to love trying new things.
My Dad assigned himself the task of weeding. He enjoyed it. One day after I knew he had spent several hours outside working I saw that he had placed in the middle of the kitchen counter, for my mother, a tiny vase with a single, tiny, purple flower. He strove to see the beauty and goodness in all things and all people.
I enjoyed his adventurous and curious spirit. About 3 years ago he and I were driving up Provo Canyon. He suggested we take a detour and explore a small side road. What a joy it was to be along for the ride.
He loved people. He considered himself shy, but yet he knew people. He was fascinated so much that he asked how different individuals were doing and when loved ones came to visit he knew just how to converse with them. I watched in awe and appreciation. About a month before he was gone I brought him a bowl of ice cream. He took a few bites, looked up and said, “Tell someone they’re my friend and give them ice cream.” He often thought of others before himself.
He was generous with his appreciation and expressed his appreciation for my husband and me living there with him. One night he thanked me for being so generous. I explained that they, he and Mother, had always been generous with me. They had taught me all I know and I was just doing the same as they had shown as loving examples and that I owed him. He sleepily responded, “I don’t think so, but let’s pretend,” and smiled wryly. He was so gracious and so kind.
In these past years as I tucked him into bed, I wanted to give him permission to have his hearts desire to be with my mom, his beautiful best friend. I would give him a hug and kiss him on the forehead and say, “Dad, if you are here in the morning I will be delighted, and if you slip away peacefully in the night, know that I love you … and let mom know. "
Oh, how I love you, Dad, for all your wit, wisdom, creativity, your quest for knowledge and truth, your love and thoughtfulness. I still have all that with me and always will.