Cecelia “Cel” Kimberly


How do you summarize the long life of a loving, caring & giving person like our mom?

Cecelia was born in Milwaukee, WI on November 18, 1931 to parents William and Jennie Kubelka and died at her home, which was her wish, on October 9, 2014.

Cecelia graduated from West Division High School in Milwaukee, WI in 1949. Cel began working at Gimble's Department Store and eventually became an Executive Assistant for Crestview Homes. She was groomed to own the business but a move to California in 1968 changed all that.

It was a major twist of fate that brought our parents together. On August 4, 1951 Cel married John B. Kimberly of Milwaukee, WI.  John was an AF Vet and police officer with Milwaukee PD. Cel was part of a group of fellow police officers wives who regularly played Bunco and Sheepshead.

She was well known for her crispy chicken, onion dip, homemade soups and great parties.

In 1968, the family moved to California, finding a house on the Island, where Cel lived for the last 46 years. Cel was home and with her family when she passed although it was very unexpected.

Once in California, Cel worked for State Business Service as Assistant Manager/Bookkeeper for 30+ years until she was outsourced by technology. Cel was a Notary Public, a crafter, a seamstress, sewing (and ironing) most of our clothes growing up, bowled, golfed and was the matriarch of our family.  Mom ran a tight ship.

Cel was a member of the Downey Rose Float Association for over 30 years serving as Rose Float President at least 6 times and was the "Nacho Lady" during the summer concerts in the park for decades. Cel was a PTA President, Girl Scout Co-Leader and when 2 of her grandchildren attended Maude Price Elementary (Downey) she volunteered in the library a couple days per week. She loved doing crossword and word search puzzles and in earlier days did many a jigsaw puzzle.

Cel LOVED Elvis, Don Ho, Wayne Newton and Hawaiian Music. We have fond memories of going to the drive-in in WI wearing our PJ's to see Elvis movies. She got to see Elvis in person with her 3 girls.  Cel had a stuffed dog that played Elvis music and told everyone she came in contact with that she "slept with Elvis every night." Cel loved lilacs and my dad's rose bushes and was the hostess of the awesome Christmas Eve parties with extended families long ago.

Cel fought and won her battle with cancer and in the end, it was her heart that gave out. She fought hard to stay with us. We admire our mom's strength and adversity.  Cel was a strong, beautiful woman who will be greatly missed by many.

Cel was predeceased by her parents, William & Jennie Kubelka and her husband of 49 years 2 months, John Kimberly. She leaves behind 3 daughters Karen (John) Topolewski, Diane Kimberly and Jane Kimberly, 3 grandchildren, Sara, Alexandra and John and 2 great grandchildren, Zackary and Joshua, her dear friend of 46 years, Freda Lynch and many other dear friends and family members in WI and CA.

A CELEBRATION OF CEL'S LIFE will be held at Furman Park on Saturday, October 25, 2014 from 1-4pm. It will be pot luck. We will provide paper products, drinks and sandwiches.  Bring a chair and share a memory.  We look forward to seeing you there.

Both mom and dad were avid animal lovers and opened their hearts and doors to strays. In lieu of flowers, please donate in Cecelia Kimberly's name to Wheels 4 Paws 4 Ever Homes, Inc. PO Box 791 Rockingham, NC 28380. This is a husband/wife furbaby transport organization that transports animals from kill shelters to rescue groups and/or adopters.



Published: Oct. 23, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 28

Jennifer DeKay