38-year-old Kim was the senior manager of workforce development at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, where she served as a consultant for businesses looking to broaden their employees’ skill sets. Among other honors, she received the Dayton Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award, which recognizes business leaders who make a difference in their communities. Kim made her mark in the community by serving on a multitude of committees, including the Women’s Board of Dayton Children’s Hospital, Junior League, Women’s Resource Collaborative, Women’s Economic Development, March of Dimes, Kettering Walk for Women’s Wellness and Clothes That Work, just to name a few.
“I must admit that I often questioned Kim on her willingness to give up personal time for all of her volunteer commitments,” Kim’s husband of 13 years, John, said. “In hindsight, it is one of the things I most respected about my wife.”
Though Kim was incredibly dedicated to community service, she also let her sense of humor shine. She chaired an event for Clothes That Work, a non-profit organization that provides interview clothes and skills to people in need, called “Hunks in Heels.” That event featured men running a race in heels, and it raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the organization.
John knew this beautiful, energetic, driven, positive, community-minded woman who was very organized but could also go with the flow was quite the catch. He was persistent – he asked her out three times before she finally said “I never turn down a free meal.” From their first date, John knew that Kim was it.
“She brightened my every day and made me the happiest and luckiest guy in the world,” John said. “She just got more and more beautiful every year, both inside and out. I often told her how lucky I was marrying her. I would say ‘I hit the lottery with you!’”
Every time John hears Brad Paisley’s “She’s Everything to Me,” he can’t help but think of Kim. Here’s the chorus: “She’s everything I ever wanted and everything I need. I talk about her, I go on and on and on. ‘Cause she’s everything to me.”
Kim still is everything, but it has been three years since she had a sudden stroke. On May 26, 2011, Kim passed away.
“To say that I am proud of this woman wouldn’t do her justice. She is my hero,” John said. “Of all she did in her 38 years, I am most proud of the greatest gift she gave in death. In trying to look for a silver lining in this black cloud, my wife, in typical Kim fashion, put others first by donating her perfect organs.”
Kim saved four lives through organ donation, and countless others are leading a better quality of life because of Kim’s gift of tissue donation.
That generous legacy was left for John and Kim’s daughters, Maddie and Marin, now 12 and 7.
“She was an amazing mother before anything,” John said. “To say she was a proud and doting mother would be the biggest understatement of all time.”
Her smile and laugh “lit up the world,” John said.
“When Kim was pregnant with Maddie, I passed out during her epidural, and all the nurses rushed over and were catering to me,” John said. “Kim laughed and was like, ‘Ummmm, hello!? I’m the one having the baby over here!’”
Speaking of the miracle of childbirth, if you were friends with Kim and welcomed a little bundle of joy into the world, you would have received a Hallmark card in the mail. In the age of e-cards and texting, Kim still took the time to send personalized Hallmark cards frequently. Her status as a Hallmark Platinum Reward member was no joke. When John gave Kim’s eulogy, he said though he doesn’t usually give stock advice, he encouraged everyone to short sell Hallmark stock!
There is not a day that goes by that John and his family don’t think of and miss Kim. But John is grateful that he and Kim had a conversation about organ, eye and tissue donation, and he knew that’s what she wanted.
“Something good came out of something so tragic. It helps me heal, it helps me deal, it helps me get to tomorrow. She was so selfless and so loving that it’s indescribable. She was the most amazing person that I have ever known,” John said. “I could keep telling you how amazing this woman was, but I know with Kim’s humility, she would be giving me the ‘enough already’ signal.”
“There is peace in our family knowing part of our mom and wife is living on in others. She’s still giving – even now.”