Curtis Kimball Obituary (2022) – Sterling, CO
He was born in his family’s home on February 11, 1937, to Helen Rilla Adams and Noah Curtis Kimball, Sr. in Canton, Oklahoma, population 774, on the edge of the Dust Bowl and towards the end of the Depression. His father was a farmer and owner of a cotton gin. Growing up, Curt participated in many activities including sports, 4-H and FFA. Although Curt had to cut cotton and babysit his sister, Karen, he dreamed of becoming an Air Force fighter pilot like his two older brothers, Red and Dick.
After graduating valedictorian of a class of 18 students, he completed the mandatory two years at Southwestern Oklahoma State University required for acceptance into the Air Force Cadet Program. However, with the call for more engineers and scientists in an attempt to catch up with the Russian space program, Curt decided to become an aeronautical engineer. After transferring to the University of Oklahoma, Curt, in his own words, “” found engineering too difficult and began looking for something easier. “‘It was then that he’ ‘naively decided to study medicine'”. He was accepted into medical school and graduated in 1963. Curt began his internship in Phoenix, where he also met the love of his life, Judy Kimball. They then spent their only year apart in a 58-year marriage when Curt was drafted into the army as a medic in Vietnam on January 13, 1966. He rose to the rank of Captain and earned the Bronze Star . After serving his first year in the US Army near Saigon, he spent a year in a military hospital in Yokohama, Japan. Returned to Phoenix in 1968 to complete his 5 year surgical residency.
Curt and Judy moved to Sterling in June 1970, grateful to find a small town in which to perform surgery. His partnership with Dr. James H. McKnight Jr. blossomed and lasted until Dr. McKnight’s retirement. Dr. Kimball brought excellence to Sterling by continually attending conferences, assisting with surgeries at award-winning hospitals, and even purchasing equipment for new procedures.
His personal physician style was filled with humility, compassion and humor. And, sometimes, even advice. His inquisitive nature, his attention to detail and his passion for fixing things made him an exemplary doctor. It was not uncommon for him to spend hours and days going through a patient’s records in search of the best possible treatment. He has always been approachable and approachable. Patients called him at home and he comforted them with his care. He also loved to make house calls. He would meet his patients around town and with his mischievous smile would say, “”Show me your scar! “”It was not uncommon for Doc to admire his work at a Sterling basketball game or at Pizza Hut. You would know Dr. Kimball was near by his whistle. Delivering babies (at least one of whom is named Noah Curtis) and comforting the families of terminally ill patients. He reminded his patients that “We all have a start date and an end date.”
Curt’s love of the barber shop started in high school. Before being drafted, he sang tenor with the Western Continentals who became international champions while in Vietnam. He performed on the Jimmy Dean Show. He also began arranging music for a barbershop, and many of his arrangements are still used today. When Curt and Judy came to Sterling, they brought with them their love of barber shop harmony. Dr. Kimball started and went on to direct for many years the Male Centennial Choir and the Female Windsong Choir, which is still going strong. Curt was part of 4 district championship foursomes. Curt never did anything halfway, and that included music. Curt was considered a perfectionist, which was infuriating to his friends and family at times, but we all knew that meant he believed in us, and it helped bring out the best in all of us. Through his ambition and passion to live life to the fullest, many incredible memories have been created for all of his family and friends through music. He was known to be a trickster onstage and his goofy falls are legendary. When you got onstage with Curt, you never quite knew what he was doing, so you did.
Through singing, Curt met Judy Katrina Jeffrey from Lexington, NE in Phoenix. They were married on August 15, 1964. Curt told his son-in-law that “”marrying Judy was the best decision he ever made. ““Their marriage of nearly 58 years was full of singing, laughing, traveling, church, tennis. , and church stewardship side by side. The only time they were on opposite ends of the house was during Nebraska Oklahoma football games
Curt, “”Eagle Eye””, loved flying and old war planes. He generously donated Stearman and T-28 rides for local charities, performed aerobatics and performed flyovers for local patriotic functions. He drove William Shatner from Star Trek, once, and will happily fly you over your farm and “”buzz”” your family, if possible. One of his greatest accomplishments was the creation of the St. Francis Fly-In which was held annually in June for many years. We teased him saying he lived by the quote, “”I’m not perfect, but I’m a pilot, and that’s almost the same thing. “”We dance for joy, knowing that Curt is crossing the line of silver clouds, soaring higher than ever, performing stunts with the ease and grace of an eagle, and flying in formation alongside his brother, Dick.
Anyone who’s been to a local auction knows what a Curt collector was. His love for tractors and stationary engines began at the age of 12, when his father taught him how to safely handle a 1937 Allis Chalmers. His parents bought their first 1940 Philco freestanding radio when an on-farm auction.
He viewed his collections and auctions not as acquisitions, but as stories to be preserved and shared. The best way to hang out with Doc and get to know him was to talk about the how, what, where and when of each radio, Corvair, tractor, truck, piano, engine, bazooka, Packard, Model T, etc. He frequently received calls from people who knew they had “just what he was looking for”. He would go to their house and only spend a minute looking at the object, but hours chatting with its owner. Oh, we can only imagine the stories he shares now!
Curt’s faith was strong and we all benefited. He was a member of Christ United Methodist Church and held many roles including serving on committees, serving on Methodist Men, singing in the choir, bell choir, and helping out where needed. His favorite committee was the trustees because he liked to take care of the church. Doc would like to let you know that his work here is done. We are all rejoicing for him and will join him when he is called. Curt is survived by his wife Judy; his daughter Kristi (Garrett) Berry and grandchildren, Claire and Madeleine of Lexington, SC; numerous nieces and nephews, in Kansas, Georgia, Washington and Nebraska; and his brother, Wesley Dean “”Red”” Kimball of Kansas City, KS.
He was predeceased by his parents, Helen and Noah, and his brother Dick and sister Karen.
Memorials may be made in Curt’s honor at Christ United Methodist Church, 104 S 4th St, Sterling, CO 80751.
Published by Journal Advocate on March 3, 2022.