|Birth: ||Apr. 23, 1932|
|Death: ||Aug. 9, 2002|
PORTAGE -- Felix Kimbrough, the city's three-term clerk-treasuer, died early Saturday morning after a short battle with cancer.
Kimbrough was diagnosed with the illness earlier this year and had been on medical leave for several months. He chose to keep his illness private during the past few months.
A private Mass will be held for family and friends this morning. City Hall will be closed to give city employees a chance to attend the Mass.
On Sunday afternoon, those who worked closely with Kimbrough spoke of his loyalty to the city and the expertise they came to rely on when dealing with city finances. Kimbrough owned a private accounting firm and was co-founder and the first president of the Paralegal Institute of Northwest Indiana prior to being elected clerk-treasuer in 1991.
Flags at City Hall were flown at half-staff Sunday in honor of Kimbrough's service to the community.
"He epitomized public service," said Mayor Doug Olson, who last spoke with Kimbrough on Thursday.
"He said he was OK. He never said he was feeling bad. He fought it all the way. When he was ill and we had a question, we'd call and ask. He was sharp as a tack," Olson said, adding that he knew Kimbrough was ill, but never expected his passing.
"Felix was a gentleman. He was funny, he was smart, he was a class act. He was a confidant, an advisor and he was a friend," Olson said.
"Felix and I worked very closely together when it came to the budget," City Councilman David Highlands said. "Felix's focus was only on Portage and what's best for Portage. He went all out of his way to make sure Portage got his due.
"Felix was a great guy. He was just a giving, caring guy," Highlands said.
Council member Liz Modesto said she'll remember Kimbrough for two reasons:
"Everytime I'd call him and ask how he was doing, he'd say, 'super duper fantastic.' He was one of the nicest guys in the world to work with," she said.
"When I first was elected and I'd have a question, Felix always gave me a straight answer. He'd answer every question I ever asked," Modesto said. "It is going to be a great loss to the city of Portage. It is going to be hard to find someone to fill his shoes."
Council President Ed Gottschling not only worked with Kimbrough on city business, but was his neighbor for 30 years.
"He was a real good friend of mine. He had the knowledge of everything going on in the city. He had an open door policy, more than anybody I ever knew," Gottschling said. Kimbrough was also a member of the local Knights of Columbus Council, Exchange Club and "every organization that asked him to be involved," he said.
Gottschling said he also was active at the state level with the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, in particular with the legislative committee, proposing new legislation to aid cities and towns.
Kimbrough also was very involved with St. Jude's Hospital and Portage Christmas in April. His family has asked that any memorials be contributed to those organizations in his name.
Kimbrough is survived by his wife, Rita, and several children.
Joyce Russell can be reached at email@example.com or (219) 762-4334
Created by: Kathy in NW Indiana
Record added: Sep 03, 2004
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