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Four distinct loves were woven into his life, the paintings of Cezanne, three large pots of rare lilies nursed over 40 years, collecting only American antiques, and the wondrous Christmas tree filled with a treasure trove of old decorations that is now permanently recorded in a handsome book produced by the photographer, Jorin Hood.
All were left behind on the afternoon of Friday, April 29, 2016, when Arthur Ogden Kimball succumbed to the ravages of carcinoid cancer, which was greatly compounded by an oncology technician’s error that resulted in years of dialysis.
All who knew him were amazed by his patient endurance and courage while his remarkable mind and brain remained intact. Waning days were eased by the extraordinary care of his nurse’s aide, Chiquita Hurston, who anticipated his many needs with compassionate care, topped with a kiss on the cheek. No bananas served, only gourmet plates worthy of the food network. Each morning he would ask ‘is Chiquita coming?’ She touched his soul with the most tender love. As well, mention must be made of the superb care given by the nurses and aides at Sentara Hospital Williamsburg during his frequent stays.
Ida Moore and Ober Kimball, both school teachers, in Waterville, Maine, named their first son Arthur, born on April 4, 1931. His painterly talents demanded notice, and to this day, a five-by-nine-foot mural depicting a scene from the Knights of the Round Table featuring a wistful Guinevere in the forefront garbed in an almost diaphanous robe, remains on the main hall wall of Waterville High.
Upon graduation he was awarded one of three scholarships given by Colby College, becoming a cum laude graduate and went on to receive an MBA degree from Columbia University School of Business in New York City. Shortly after making Manhattan his home, he married his next-door neighbor, Bernice Kapes, lured by the sounds of music passing thru the adjoining wall prompting a request on his card slipped under the door. Since 1958, East 84th Street was home, just a three blocks’ walk from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, their home away from home; he knew its total painting collection, even the moderns.
Columbia University was destined to be his working life for over 30 years, serving as director of development for the School of Law, and a time later, simultaneously, as associate dean for the Law School under two distinguished Deans, the late William C. Warren and Michael Sovern among others. Here, he met Professor Ruth Bader Ginsburg, now the celebrated Supreme Court Justice, with whom he shared an appreciation for art and music, as well as a friendship with the late affable judge, Harold Medina, forever a star in the legal world. So many Law School graduates were brought together throughout our country and abroad in Great Britain, Western Europe and Japan for bar events, symposiums, lectures, reunions and feasting, which honored prominent legal scholars, statesman and jurists by the dedicated work of Dean Kimball, and today, a large and loyal alumni exists. In recognition of his 25th anniversary at their institution in 1986, a group of law alumni established the Arthur Kimball Scholarship Endowment Fund, now supporting a needy and outstanding law student each year.
Also in 1986, the former chief justice of the state of New York, Stanley Fuld, sponsored Arthur for membership in the Fellows of Phi Beta Kappa, a national group limited to 400 active members. He remains, as well, a longstanding member of the University Club and served on a variety of non-profit boards, including the Development Council for the Archives of American Art, a bureau of the Smithsonian.
After 42 years in NYC, a perfect retirement situation was found in Williamsburg with its wealth of historical and cultural offerings. Here, he served on the boards of the Chamber Music Society and the Greater Williamsburg Virginia Symphony Society during its formation. Having built a fine but modest collection of colonial and early federal antiques, injected with some folk arts, his days were fulfilled with over 20 years in the South.
He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Bernice; brother, Richard L. Kimball, residing in North Waterford, Maine; and here in Williamsburg, his sister-in-law, Marlene Kapes.
Arthur O. Kimball leaves behind a reputation as a gentle, kind man, dapper dresser, serious conversationalist, not shy to express opinions, even political, welcoming personality, valued friendships, exceptional mind and memory. And, in the heart of his wife, a noble mate loved and respected always.
It was his request that no funeral or memorial service occur, but remembrances be made to Arthur Kimball Scholarship Endowment Fund at Columbia University School of Law, 435 West 116 Street, New York, N.Y. 10027; or Friends of Colonial Williamsburg Collections, P.O. Box 1776, Williamsburg, Virginia 23187-1776.
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