Harold Kimball aka Pumpa

As Katty and I arrived in his hospice room, his eyes opened and he saw us both. He tried to say something but could not get the words out. I reached out for his hand and told him to relax, he had already said so much in the weeks prior. My uncle Bob started praying the rosary as we gathered around him. At ~10am on August 16th he took his last breath. His wife BJ had her arms around him as she wept and said goodbye. I held his hand with Mom on one side and Katty on the other while uncle Bob continued praying the rosary. I know that he chose that moment. It was exactly as he wanted it. Goodbye Pumpa…

Harold Kimball was born and grew up in Chicago. He graduated from St. Lawrence Grammar School and Leo High School. He served three years in the Air Force assigned to the Italian campaign during World War II. He received his B.S. degree in civil engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. In 1950, he and Audrey Pabst of Milwaukee were married; they had four children: Robert, Judy, Gregory, and Steven. Audrey died in 1996 and Steve in 2007. In 2005, Harold and Betty Jane Wagner were married in Evanston. He is survived by his wife Betty Jane Wagner; children Bob (Mary Carmen), Judy (Serafin) Veramendi, Greg (Laura) and the late Steve (Mary Beth); grandchildren Gregory, Pablo and Teresa Veramendi, Frank, Javier and Mark Kimball, Melissa Klein and Ryan Kimball and Katie and Aaron Kimball; great grandchildren Jake and Jocelyn Klein and Audrey Kimball. Harold has always enthusiastically enjoyed family gatherings, travel, symphony concerts, plays, and movies. An avid reader, he frequently recited poetry for family and friends. For ten years, Harold taught undergraduate engineering courses at the Illinois Institute of Technology and worked for Kaiser Engineers. In 1969, his firm sent him to San Nicolas, Argentina (130 miles north of Buenos Aires), as principal engineer on the design and construction of a steel-making plant for the Argentine government. When Harold retired from Kaiser Engineers, he started his own business, the Engineering Guild, a very successful enterprise, which he managed the rest of his life. Ever an activist, Harold Kimball devoted his life to causes promoting peace and justice in the world and leaves us that legacy. He supported the Civil Rights Movement and welcomed the first African-American family into his neighborhood. He marched with Martin Luther King against the Vietnam War, and supported Joe Polowsky’s efforts to see that our country would never go to war with the Soviet Union. Polowsky saw to it that veterans who met at the Elbe River at the end of World War II would visit one another’s countries during what became the Cold War. As a board member of CIS (Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad) and frequent visitor to El Salvador, Harold contributed to efforts to improve the lives of the poor. He was also on the boards of Common Ground promoting inter-religious understanding, and Seraj, setting up libraries in Palestine. Harold was a Vision Keeper and active member of the Peace and Justice Committee of Evanston’s St. Athanasius Church. He cooked for and played chess with persons with AIDS at Bonaventure House in Chicago and participated in demonstrations for peace as long as his health permitted. Contributions in his memory may be made to Common Ground, 815 Rosemary Terrace, Deerfield, Illinois 60015, to Seraj, 623 So. Euclid Avenue, Oak Park, Illinois 60304, or to the Iraqi Student Project, 708 Dodge, Evanston, Illinois 60202.

May he rest in peace.

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