William E. Kimble

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William E. Kimble 85, a longtime Tucsonan and prominent retired attorney and judge, passed away peacefully at his home in Tucson on April 6, 2012 surrounded by his family. Bill was born on May 4, 1926 in Denver, Colo., the son of George and Grace Ellen Kimble (nee Fick). As a boy, he moved with his parents and brother Robert to Arizona, eventually settling in Tucson. After graduating from Tucson High School in 1944, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving as a sonarman aboard the destroyer U.S.S. J.C. Owens in the Pacific Theater from 1944 to 1946. He was in Okinawa when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and was among those American servicemen spared from fighting a protracted war with Japan. Upon returning to civilian life, Bill enrolled at the University of Arizona, where he met the love of his life, Jean Margaret Cayia. They wedded SS. Peter & Paul Church on December 27, 1950, beginning a marriage that would last more than 61 years and produce seven sons. Bill received his degree from the UA College of Law in 1951 and accepted a job as special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation that took him and Jean to International Falls, Minn. After enduring a northern Minnesota winter, they eagerly returned to Arizona, where Bill and Jean lived for the remainder of his life. In 1952, now with a wife and infant son, Bill settled in Bisbee, as a partner in the law firm of Gentry, McNulty & Kimble. In 1956, Bill ventured into political life - running as the Republican nominee for Arizona attorney general. In 1958, he was appointed to the Arizona Oil & Gas Commission. In 1960, Bill was appointed Superior Court judge for Cochise County. He ran for and was elected to the office later that year. However, his love of the law was greater than his love for politicking for the position. He recounted a low point in his campaign when in a Tombstone bar, one citizen approached him, "So you're a politician, are you? How about buying me a drink?" When Bill declined, the man glared at him and replied, "You won't buy me a drink? What kind of a politician are you?" Two years later, with a growing family to support, Bill returned to private law practice and moved his family to Tucson. Bill was a partner with the law firm Lesher & Kimble from 1962 to 1982. In 1964, he ran on the Republican ticket against freshman Congressman Morris Udall - making campaign appearances across the district with Barry Goldwater, his party's candidate for president. Although he lost that election, he developed a friendship with Udall and - although steadfastly Republican throughout his life - served as Udall's honorary campaign co-chair near the end of the congressman's tenure, contending that southern Arizona had been well served by Mo Udall. From 1982 until his retirement in 1991, Bill was the senior partner in his own firm. He tried more than 500 jury cases, while teaching for over 20 years at the UA College of Law. He was a recognized legal authority in the area of products liability. He authored the legal treatise "Federal Consumer Products Safety Act" and co-authored, with his law partner Robert O. Lesher, "Products Liability," both published by West Publishing Co. He was senior editor of "Products Liability Alert," newsletter published by Harcourt, Brace, Javonovich; and editor/publisher of "IDEA: In Defense of Electrical Accidents," a national quarterly newsletter for electric utilities and their counsel. Bill was a founding member of the American Bar Association Foundation, the U.S. Navy War College Foundation, the UA College of Law Alumni Association, the McCormick Society for Law and Public Affairs and the local organization F.A.M.E. - a small group of prominent local citizens, headed by William R. Mathews, publisher of the Arizona Daily Star, which recognized the need for an Arizona medical school, and undertook to raise seed money to establish that school at the UA. The group was successful in raising a substantial amount of money and convincing the Legislature of the need for a medical college, and the desirability of locating it in Tucson. Bill also was a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and a diplomat in the American Board of Trial Advocates. Along with his family, Arizona, and the law, Bill was passionate in his love for Shakespeare and travel. His personal library was filled with works by and about William Shakespeare, along with etchings and busts of the writer. With Jean, he traveled to every corner or the world - from Italy to Guatemala, from China to Chile, and from New Zealand to Scotland's Outer Hebrides - developing an appreciation for other lands, cultures, and cuisines. He is predeceased by his youngest son, Michael. He is survived by Jean, his beloved wife of 61 years; by his sons, Mark (Jennifer Boice), Cary (Karen), Timothy (Susan), Stephen, Philip (Amy Minier), and Peter; by nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated Saturday, April 14, 2012 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, 5150 N Valley View Road. Bill would have appreciated donations to the Humane Society of South Arizona in his memory. Arrangements by BRING'S BROADWAY CHAPEL, www/bringfuneralhome.com/obituaries.

Published in the Arizona Daily Star on Apr. 12, 2012
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