Pat Thomas (Fran's Eldest Daughter)
To my dear family and friends,
I do not want you to be sad at Mom's passing on. I want you to be sooo glad that you knew, loved and were loved by her. She was one of the most remarkable women ever to have walked this earth.
Each of us has learned different things and received different gifts from her. We MUST use these things and gifts in a positive and productive way to help our selves and others be the best people we can be. In this way her wit, intellect and character will live on and become her legacy to the world. We will always love her and we will never forget her.
She has always been and will continue to be my role model.
Please tell us what she has taught and given to you.
Pat, Patty, Poppy,Mom, Grandma
Gram Fran is such a HUGE part of my life. As the first grandchild I am blessed to claim 45 years with her. I believe that my birth in 1961 was her first day off from her now almost infamous "Calleguas" career!
Not a Christmas or an Easter or a Thanksgiving or a birthday or graduation passed by without Gram Fran (and Grandpa Ollie) present.
Every single holiday or family celebration memory includes them both. I know that I am truly blessed for these numerous and wonderful experiences and memories.
She was such an amazingly strong and poised woman. I have had such a wonderful role model in her, and I am SO pleased that my teenage daughters Lindsay and Lanie knew and loved her as well. We love you forever.
Tammy (Thomas) Boydston
Granddaughter number three
It is indeed an honor and a delight to be in the direct bloodline of Frances Bill Kimball. I am so blessed to have grown up with Grandma Fran and Grandpa Ollie only 3 miles down the road in Thousand Oaks. I have so many memories of family Sunday dinners at the El Monte house and spending the afternoon enjoying both her lovely home and her sharp wit and intellect. I like to think that I carry on some of that wit.
One of my favorite memories is of quoting Pooh and other favorite authors with Grandma Fran, my mom, and Aunt Allison. They were all able to recite work upon work and I was enthralled. I took to reading and memorizing many AA Milne poems and reading Rudyard Kipling books, starting with The Jungle book.
I was not a "reader" as a child, but somehow, at Grandma Fran's house, it was always about the books. Now as a second grade teacher, I find myself reciting poems to capture the interest of my my ever fidgety students. IT WORKS! "When I was six" and "King John's Christmas" are my two favorites. Grandma Fran helped me to memorize these verses as we cleaned up the kitchen together after one of our Sunday dinners. (She and Grandpa Ollis were both great cooks!)
She was always there for us as kids. Not the typical Grammy my friends spoke of, but much loved and respected. I think we three girls somehow knew that was different in a very special and precious way. We had a model of "You can do it--woman or not" in our own family.
A college degree, a pilots liscence, an administrative job with Callegus, a heart for service to community (Zonta), and a great family. She sure set the bar high!
I love and miss you Grandma Fran. I am looking forward to seeing your Ohio stomping ground again.
To the Family & Friends of Fran Kimball,
Knowing where to start writing about such a great lady is a tremendous task. My first recollection of Fran and Ollie was sometime while my folks were building their new house at "the farm" outside of Kalamazoo, Michigan. A striking couple showed up on their horses (white Blue Blossom and a bay, Candy - both of which eventually were just "taken over" by Patty & Allison). This couple was such a vibrant, exciting couple - at least to a 10 year old city girl. And my folks loved them, too. We were immediately taken in by this family (to my folks' consternation, I'm sure, as I was never home after that it seemed - I was always at the Kimball place or riding with Pat, Allison, & my sister, Sue).
Because the phone company's long distance calling boundary was between our houses, we could never call each other, so after I got a horse, I would ride to the Kimball home every afternoon after school (Pat & I went to different schools in different towns).
We always had such a good time there. Pat and I would sit on a bed in a little bedroom off the dining room playing Canasta and many times Fran would be at their beautiful piano - she could play so well! My favorite was Kitten on the Keys - it's so nice you have it on your website!
During the hot, muggy summer, we would beg Fran to take us to North Lake to go swimming. She would so often oblige. Off we would go - Fran taking Pat, Gerry, & Allison, Sue & me - in Fran's Henry J!! And there was a bump over a little bridge on the gravel "swamp road" on the way to the lake. And with lots of encouragement from all of us kids, Fran would "goose it" over the bridge, and we would flyyyyyyy! It was so fun.
After school we would be so hungry (so we thought), and in the Kimballs ' old farm house in the middle of the kitchen was a big trunk that always held big loaves of white bread. We would cover each slice one at a time with thick layers of butter and nearly devour that loaf before Fran would come to the loaf's rescue and say, "That's enough".
Fran's solid personality was like a rock - she had such a level head always. I just knew that anytime during my life, I could have called Fran if I needed her support, and she would have been there.
And such a smile - a quick and lasting one.
Well, I keep thinking of wonderful childhood memories with the Kimball Family. I want to thank each and every one of you for refreshing me - and allowing me on your website here to recall and rejuvenate "The Good Ol'
Days" - it's been a hard but rewarding journey for me to go through reading your material, seeing your family pictures, and working through writing some of my memories.
I was secretary to Tom Anderle, General Counsel to Calleguas for thirty years, until he left to take an appointment to the Superior Court.
I came with him and we have been here more than eight years. We have kept in touch with the folks at CMWD and knew Fran was with you.
I went with Tom to most of the Board meetings and came to know Fran well and to appreciate her character. She was a very classy woman - bright, knowledgeable, sassy, and more than a few steps ahead of everybody. She was really something, and you have so much reason to be very proud of her.
It is so good that life worked out so that you and your family had this time with Fran. God Bless her and you all.
Jo-Ann O'Beirne - Zonta Club - Conejo Valley
I will always fondly remember Fran as a kind & generous person. I recall countless Zonta parties in the Kimball home. Fran's house was dubbed "The Party House." Ollie loved it, too. My condolences to the entire family.
Dear Pat, Allison and Kathy,
The loss of your mother is like a radiant star disappearing from the nighttime sky, and words of sympathy seem so small to encompass so great a loss...
She cast a brilliant light, not only on you but also on all those who were
lucky enough to know her. Someone that special will never be forgotten.
Her memory will always shine on.
I miss her terribly already.
I worked for Fran at Calleuas and she was the Best - Kindest - Most Patient - "Funnest" boss ever there was. We had so many good times together. It is wonderful to have those memories.
There will never be another Fran....
I was deeply saddened to read of your mothers passing. I loved her too!
I shared your loss with the Zonta Club of the Conejo last night along with many of her amazing accomplshments and there was a moment of rememberance in her honor.
Zonta is how I met Fran in the mid 80's and we worked on many different committees and projects though the years. And the parties....if it was to be fun...it had to be hosted by Fran, with Ollie at the bar, in their warm and welcoming home on El Monte.
Hugs and sympathy to Ollie and the family. You were blessed to have her.
Janet & Rick Taylor
Dear Kathy & Tom
We were saddened to hear about Fran's death and we know what a difficult time it must be for you now. I didn't know Fran and only met her the one time when we came for dinner last summer. What I remember from the evening is how happy and delighted she became when Rick started playing the piano. It was past her bedtime but she kept smiling and keeping beat to the music. Her love of music was obvious.
I also remember how lovingly you and the girls took care of her. She must have felt so lucky and proud to have such a caring family.
The website is a wonderful tribute. She was a beautiful lady.
Damaris & Ken Pike
Ken & I were saddened to hear about your dear mom. As I told you on the phone it was indeed fortunate that you could have her with you these past months. It must have been a joy for her to have three wonderful but quite different daughters. She must have been so proud of you and YOUR three wonderful but different daughters. She left a special legacy.
Think of you with love always
Vicky (Hardesty) & Brian Stafford
We were so sorry to hear about the loss of Fran. YOu are in our thoughts and our hearts
Allison Elwell (Fran's second daughter)
When I was young there was a charming television program that we used to watch called "I Remember Mama" filled with funny, poignant, heartwarming moments of recollection from the lives of this fictionalized family. Now that it's MY turn to 'remember Mama' the task has left me struggling...not for memories-those come flooding fast and furious..so many to choose among. The struggle is by my choices to do her justice- to sufficiently catch the essence of who she was.
The woman who was 'Mom' for me and I think also for Gerry was 'Mother' to Pat and 'Mama' to Kathy. Because we all entered her life at different times (and also because we are each unique) we all occasionally experienced her in different ways. We share many, many memories, but some of these have a twist or some extra information that changes the feel of the memory a little. Learning these little differences about each other will let us keeep having surprises for some time to come. However it's what Mom gave to all of us that is my focus here. Of the many possibilities I've chosen the ones that to me will always call her to my mind...I consider these her gifts to us.
Mom was almost unfailingly practical and pragmatic. Decision making was usually not a tortured drawn out ordeal. You looked at the facts, evaluated the probable outcomes, made your choice based on the available information and then moved on.
Mom was Safe. I can't ever remember a time when I felt as though I couldn't tell Mom something. There were lots of things I didn't want to tell her...but nothing that I was afraid to tell her and behind that was great faith in her ability both to be fair and to handle Dad...a daunting task for her.
Mom always made it clear what was an acceptable way to be and what was not. There is a great deal of security in knowing how to have control of your life. Being able to do it was another issue, but at least we were in no doubt about what was expected. Good, honest efforts were also rewarded.
When we were little Mom was the center of our universe. All of us except Kathy remember sitting around the huge old ironer on the farm while Mom told us long made-up stories...and we got to choose the characters! Then we would wait with bated breath until at some point OUR character appeared. It's fortunate Mom was so smart because many a lesser mother would have failed when faced with putting Leo the Lion, a Unicorn, and a fierce Robot in the same story and needing to make it work!
Mom was endlessly inventive and creative and her example (as well as Dad's) of just finding a way, and assuming that of course you can figure it out led all of us to think of ourselves as competent problem solvers.
I don't know about my sisters and brother but I thought Mom was beautiful.
I have many memories of having her come in to kiss us goodnight before they were leaving for a party and she smelled so good and looked so elegant I was almost afraid to kiss her. She was beautiful to the very end.
And then there was the family literature! A. A. Milne, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Service, The Prophet, The Rubaiyat, Abdul a Bul Bul Amir, Alice in Wonderland, more Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, Peter Pan....the great dinner table discussions with everyone quoting from this and that- then running off to look up a word-it was great.
I know I'm going on and on and I also know I'm touching on only a tiny fraction of the things Mom gave us, but I can't stop without mentioning what I think is the very BEST thing she left us and that is each other.
These last few years as it became increasingly necessary to help Mom amd Dad we've all had our roles and I firmly believe we as a family did the absolute best that we could do. Dear Patty-always the first responder was truly cherished by Mom, and by Dad as well as he was slowly able to accept that they needed the help. Patty who so often bore the burden for the rest of us.
Gerry, whose calm and comforting presence was a huge help after Mom's psychotic breakdown. He cooked, he fixed things we hadn't been able to fix, he was so tender with both Mom and Dad. He was a rock.
And Baby Kathy who had long since stopped being "the Baby" and through tremendous trials in her own life had developed a wonderful way of loving and comforting and engaging that was so good for Mom during her stay in Ohio. Kathy had also been able fortunately to be out often for the fairly frequent crises of the past couple of years.
So, my final thought about Mom is one I've held for quite awhile now...namely that you must be one hell of a mother if deep in their secret hearts each of your four children is convinced that he(or she) is your favorite child!
And finally O Best Beloved, (with a nod to Kipling) I am so proud to have you as my family and to be able to say "We be of one blood, Thou and I".
I love you all.
Heather Hardesty (Granddaughter)
GrandmaFran, who lovingly became just gramma after ten months at my house, once told me, "You're a good kid." Mind you, that was after her third scotch and a Klondike bar. (What could possibly be bad after a combination like that?) However, I realized at that moment, for the first time in my twenty years, she knew me well enough to say that.
For me, getting to know my gramma was such an amazing experience. Whether we were sitting doing a crossword, laughing and joking, or holding her hand and brushing her hair as she sat anxiously and shook and squeezed her delicate hands, she always had something witty to say or interesting to add.
She was, I discovered, a very cool lady and I was and am proud to call her gramma. I, and Tootie, love her and miss her every day.
Kathy & Family
No one could ask for more tender loving care than you all gave to your mother and grandmother. It must have been a great comfort to her.
I'm so sorry you have suffered through so many losses in the last few years.
With love in my heart to yours.
Jane, Dave, Sarah & Katie Wegener
Dear Kathy, Tom, Beamie, Jenny & Heather
I am so sorry to hear about you losing your mom and grandma. We'll be
thinking of you often and hope that your sadness won't be too much to bear. With much love and deepest sympathy, we wish you comfort and peace.
Shirley Kolenic& the Board and Staff of The Fairmount Center
In memory- and in celebration- of someone who made this world a brighter and better place. Warmest thoughts and deepest sympathy. Our love and prayers are with you.
Nancy & Bill Carlson
As you share the stories and the memories of how she lived her life and how very much she meant, may you find comfort and know, throughout this difficult time, the deep sympathy and concern that is felt for you and all your family.
We are so pleased that she enjoyed the evening in our home at Christmas.
She was a MOST lovely lady!
Dear Kathy & Tom
Please know your families will remain in my heart and prayers. I am so blessed to know you, and mourn with you for Fran and Tom, Sr.
Janet & Jim O'Hara
May time do its quiet work, bringing comfort to your heart.
Kathy & Tom
Happy Knowing Love is Forever Day!
"I thank my God when I remember you-
for you have blessed my life with yours. In every prayer I have for you my heart is filled with joy for I hold you in my heart."
And it will always be so and your voice will always soothe all losses with reassuring strength that remembers all good and joy. May it be so for you remembering your mom Fran. May she now join in the council of angels watching over you and your girls. May you feel the deep peace and gratitude of being touched by a mom of great goodness. I will be holding you right in the center of my heart.
Jeanne Van Atta & Bill Meckler
I know this last year has been a challenging one for you, probably in ways that I can only imagine. You have been an amazing and wonderful daughter.
There is no question that you and your daughters made your mom's last year a much better one. I loved seeing all of you looking out for her at Tom's dad's service. She looked so entirely nurtured and cared for - it was an inspiration. You are honoring her legacy by raising three stong, beautiful daughters. Bill and I both send our love to you.
Marcia Snavely Polyak & Greg Polyak
Kathy and Tom,
We are so sorry to hear of your mother's death. I know you will treasure the many memories you have. You have gone through so much the past several months. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Christine Anderson (JCU Colleague of Tom's)
May it comfort you to know
that death cannot diminish
the important ways
your loved one
touched your life,
that grief cannot take away
the happiness you shared
that sorrw will fade in time...
but love remains forever
You are all in my thoughts and prayers
Take care - Christine