Remembering a shining face: AQ community mourns loss of friend, student, and athlete

Story by Chucky Blackmore, News Editor
Photo courtesy of Aquinas College

There is a deeper meaning behind being a Saint than just an enrollment at Aquinas College.  A Saint embodies each and every person who becomes a part of the past, present, and future of our school’s profound history.  First-year Evan Kimball, who passed away unexpectedly on Monday, October 12, is most certainly an AQ Saint.

Kimball grew up in West Branch, Michigan, fueling his love for sports at a young age.  He was an avid multi-sport athlete throughout school, taking an interest in baseball, football, wrestling, and basketball.  At the age of four, Kimball started playing baseball for the West Branch Little League; from then on, his ambitious little heart would be set on making baseball a pastime in his life and the lives of his loved ones.  

Before making his way to Aquinas, Kimball attended Ogemaw Heights High School and shared memories with every person he came in contact with.  

“He was a freshman in high school when I was a junior,” said AQ junior Karin O’Brien.  “I began to know Evan very well between classes and after school activities.”

O’Brien recalled first meeting Kimball through his mother, Lydia, who worked in the high school at the time.  A close relationship was built between all of them, and it didn’t take long for O’Brien to be considered an unofficial member of the Kimball family.  

“Evan is basically the little brother I never had, and I thought he was just the cutest thing,” said O’Brien.

As big of a sports fan he was, Kimball also possessed a knack for acting–well, maybe with a little convincing from O’Brien.

“I was involved with our theatrical department in high school. Evan and I had theatre class together,” recalled O’Brien.  “I saw a little performer in Evan while we did skits and activities in class, so being the “big sister” that I am, I nagged at him day in and day out until he finally tried out for the high school’s production of The Pink Panther.  He rocked his role and from there on out, he was a remarkable performer. I loved watching him grow throughout the years.”

Kimball had always shown an interest in attending Aquinas College after graduating high school.  His dream was to make it onto the men’s baseball team.  Any hesitation he had about coming to AQ had been eliminated by O’Brien when she described to him the inclusive nature of the school community.  After an hour-long discussion at a wedding reception about AQ, O’Brien recalled Kimball’s cheerful response:  “I’m not sure if I fully collected everything you just said…but okay, I’ll come to Aquinas!”

His dream of playing collegiate baseball at AQ had come true when he entered the field as an athlete and a Saint.  Though his other teammates didn’t know him very long, their words express the impact Kimball had on them.  

“Evan was fellow catcher,” said senior Tyler Golembiewski.  “He always had a positive attitude and was willing to help whenever he could.”

Golembiewski recalled a time when selfless Kimball added some humor to practice.  

“There was one day where all the pitchers had to throw and we were all prepared to help out. That’s when our coach went to Evan and was like, ‘I’ve got good news and bad news.  The good news is each pitcher is only throwing 15 pitches. The bad news is you have to catch all the pitches.’”

Another teammate, junior Michael Priest, offered more words about Kimball’s humor and personality.  

“He was always making jokes…but you had to listen closely to hear them because he wasn’t flashy about it by any means,” said Priest. “If you were lucky enough to catch one of his jokes, you couldn’t help but laugh.”

“Even though I didn’t know him very long, he has left an everlasting impact on my life. I will try to better myself everyday by taking the #Evanchallenge, which is doing something to better the community, someone around you, or even yourself.”

Kimball indulged in the AQ lifestyle upon arriving this year: adjusting to the dorms and college classes, the endless meal plan, on-campus events and sports, and meeting new people.  He decided on an athletic training major due to his love for sports and helping others.  

“Evan James Kimball is my personal hero,” said O’Brien.  “It saddens me greatly that his radiant personality is no longer walking around AQ, but I am blessed to have someone like him looking after me. He never had a mean bone in his body. He could have been having the worst day ever, but refused to put himself first. He was too concerned about the people he dearly loved. His legacy will live on forever.”
As AQ Saints, we all share memories with one another that bind us together as a family.  These memories remind us of who we are and what we can all accomplish as a community. Although Evan is no longer with with us, the memories will surely live on forever.

About the Writer…

Chucky Blackmore, News EditorChucky Blackmore is a senior studying English and Education, with a minor in ESL. Other than being The Saint’s News Editor, Chucky is also a Resident Assistant in Hruby Hall and plays lead guitar in Grand Rapids based band, Velcrofibs.

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