16 th Mar 2016
Kate – Catherine Mary Kimberly
On Saturday afternoon there was a significant gathering of people at The Leir House Cultural Center in Penticton BC. It was a gathering of well over 150 people who were touched by Kate Kimberly my sister. She asked that we gather there where she had her studio and found an inner peace .
Kate was the third of five children born in Winchester Hants England 8th Feb 1945 . Where we lived in a remote hamlet called Owslebury Bottom and in 1952 moved to Barton Stacey near Andover Hants. Surprisingly I don’t have any clear memories of Kate growing up because I left home in 1957 to apprentice, but when I returned in 1962 there she was, a very beautiful young lady .
After she and Jacques emigrated to Canada in 1966 We exchanged letters twice a month . Thus it was Kate who encouraged me to follow in her footsteps to B.C. after our wedding in Sept 1967. In that 49 years we have shared so much joy, sorrow, and happiness, children and grand children .
Thank you Kate you were a wonderful sister and friend to me all the way !
Among the many wonderful things Kate did was to write her own obituary reprinted below.
Artist Kate Kimberley dies at 70
Kate Kimberley, who passed away on Jan. 21, chose this portrait of her by fellow artist Linda Anderson to accompany her obituary. / IMAGE COURTESY LINDA ANDERSON
Penticton lost a vibrant personality and an important member of the arts community when Kate Kimberley died on Jan. 21 after a protracted battle with cancer.
“She has been ill for a couple of years now, so we have been able to prepare as best we can,” said her son Sean, who added that it was a peaceful passing. Kate also made her own preparations, including writing her own obituary, which we share with you here.
“Kate” Catherine Mary Kimberley (nee Thornton) (February 8, 1945 – January 21, 2016)
I always knew I would write my own obituary, and now it is very fashionable to do so.
I’ve led such a privileged life. Firstly in my choice of husband Jake, and secondly in our choice to emigrate to the Okanagan in 1966. Jake and I have raised two fine sons here; Sean (wife Megan) and Kevin (wife Veronica). We are extremely proud of both of them. Our two grandchildren, Abigail and Benjamin, have been a delight. A ray of sunshine in our golden years.
I have been blessed with many sincere friends who have been supportive in so many ways, not only during my illness but through my whole adult life. You all know who you are. My tennis buddies, my yoga buddies, my art buddies, my hiking buddies, and my cross country skiing buddies.
Thank you to my wonderful Doctor, Dr. John Surkan for his care, as well as the dedicated nurses at oncology who do an amazing job in spite of their working conditions. Thanks also to Dr. Marianne Taylor, Oncologist. And thank you to the palliative care ‘angels’ who really do the caring.
After retirement I have enjoyed a very interesting art career. I sincerely appreciate Prema Harris for having faith in my watercolours from day one. ‘As artists we are here to share our gift with others. A healing experience for both the creator and the observer.’
In addition to my husband Jake, sons Sean and Kevin, and grandchildren Abigail and Benjamin I am survived by my three brothers, Mick, Martin, and Tom, many nieces, nephews, cousins, and the huge Kimberley family in England.
‘The meaning of life is that it ends. The purpose of life is to love living it.’
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the charity of your choice.
Sean said that his father, former mayor Jake Kimberley, is coping, with the support of his family.
“I live in town here with my wife and kids, so we are close by. We are taking him with us on Monday to be with my brother,” said Sean. “He is going to have family around. He is doing very well considering.”
Prema Harris, who Kate mentioned in her obituary, remembers Kate’s dedication to furthering her art.
“She was determined to dedicate a lot of her time to making art. She just went for it. She went to workshops, she got involved with the Federation of Canadian Artists, and she just surrounded herself in that environment,” said Harris. “She just kept getting better and better. I guess that is her nature. She was beautiful to work with, she was so clear about her intention and what her goals were.”
Nel Witteman, owner of the Lloyd Gallery, remembers being one of Kate’s first art teachers when she was learning to paint, at a one-day workshop in her Kaleden studio along with two other artists.
“It was one full day, just to get really into painting,” said Witteman, adding that she told her three students they would go home with a finished painting, which they did.
“They really caught the bug, they caught the feeling of wanting paint,” said Witteman. “I’ve always loved the idea that she grew so fast. She went from a beginner to a full blown-artist very quick.”
Vince Rabbitte knew Kate through the Penticton Yacht and Tennis club. He said Kate’s enthusiasm and dedication didn’t only show in her art career.
“She was a tremendous worker, helped with everything, a great supporter of the club in every way you could imagine,” said Rabbitte.
Carol Munro was a friend and a member of the Tumbleweed Art Gallery collective along with Kate.
“Kate was a terrific mentor to me in my art and I will be forever grateful,” said Munro, describing Kate as a joyful person.
“A laugh that I will remember all my life … the beautiful music of Kate’s laugh,” said Munro, who also remembers her friend’s excitement when she was invited to join the Tumbleweed collective.
“It was as if Kate had been invited to show in the Louvre. Her enthusiasm and her recognition that Tumbleweed’s interest in her was an affirmation of the quality of her work and how far she had moved in her work,” said Munro. “It was a beautiful thing to see.”
Kate’s dedication to art went beyond just personal improvement, according to Munro.
“Kate and a couple of other people probably saved the soul of the local chapter of the FCA,” said Munro, explaining that Kate would often step forward to be on the executive board, when others wouldn’t.
“They said, ‘okay, we will do it again,’ rather than close the chapter. Now the chapter is thriving and humming with a whole new infusion of younger people,” Munro said. “But a lot of that is due to the fact that Kate would not let it go.”
Jane Shaak, the executive director of the Okanagan School of the Arts and the Shatford Centre, remembers Kate helping set up the first-ever exhibition at the Shatford Centre in 2011.
“I think she was president (of the FCA) when we were moving to the Shatford Centre and the first exhibition we ever had was called Triptych,” said Shaak. To make the exhibition happen the FCA installed a hanging system at the centre, which was left as a legacy, as was a lighting system installed for another exhibition Kate helped organize.
“Kate was wonderful to work with. She had a real openness to it, and enthusiasm, a tremendous enthusiasm,” said Shaak.
Here is a link to a video of the event :