Nona K. (Kunz) Kimpel (97) Nona Kathleen (Kunz) Kimpel passed peacefully into her Savior's arms surrounded by her family on Sunday morning, August 10, 2014. Nona was born September 28, 1916 to George F. and Bess G. (Copenhaver) Kunz on the family ranch and wheat farm northeast of Wilbur near Sherman, Washington. Growing up farming and ranching alongside her four siblings, Nona was number three with two older brothers, Tom and Howard, and two younger sisters, Persha (McPherson) and Metra (Champion). Nona enjoyed farm life, particularly riding horses, driving wheat trucks, swimming, making ice cream and playing with her siblings,...
Nona K. (Kunz) Kimpel (97)
Nona Kathleen (Kunz) Kimpel passed peacefully into her Savior's arms surrounded by her family on Sunday morning, August 10, 2014.
Nona was born September 28, 1916 to George F. and Bess G. (Copenhaver) Kunz on the family ranch and wheat farm northeast of Wilbur near Sherman, Washington. Growing up farming and ranching alongside her four siblings, Nona was number three with two older brothers, Tom and Howard, and two younger sisters, Persha (McPherson) and Metra (Champion). Nona enjoyed farm life, particularly riding horses, driving wheat trucks, swimming, making ice cream and playing with her siblings, cousins and neighboring farm kids. Nona also looked forward to playing with the Native American kids when their families pitched their teepees on her family's land to camp during their seasonal travels around the Columbia River region. Nona especially loved and excelled at horseback riding. She also helped her dad train racehorses and even jockeyed in local horse races.
Graduating from Wilbur High School in 1933, Nona went on to Eastern Washington College of Education at Cheney (now EWU) where she received a 3-year Teacher's Degree in 1936. She loved teaching 1st and 2nd grade students, and took great pleasure in telling humorous stories of all little children's antics that she encountered. Nona's teaching career took her around eastern Washington to Wilbur, Endicott, Pullman, and in Spokane at Logan, Alcott and Bancroft elementary schools. In the midst of her teaching career, Nona married her high school sweetheart, Donald E. Kimpel in Tacoma, WA on June 25, 1939. They honeymooned by driving down to San Francisco for the World's Fair. Ultimately, they made their home in Spokane where Nona taught school until their second daughter was born in 1952. She then became a full-time homemaker and managed their apartment rentals while Don finished his degree at Gonzaga University and took a position with the IRS. She was a great wife, mother, cook, seamstress, housekeeper, artist, writer, teacher, photographer, and friend. A kind-hearted and forgiving person, Nona saw the best in everyone. She had a terrific sense of humor and could find the 'lighter side' in even the most dire circumstances. "You might as well laugh than cry about it" was one her most famous lines. As a photographer, her slideshows of family gatherings and of the trips she and Don took their daughters on each year around the U.S. and Canada were popular among relatives and friends. Nona went to great lengths to get just the 'right' scenery and/or historical shot. This usually entailed cajoling as many family members she could out of the camper to appear in the photo to 'personalize' it. She taught her daughters piano and was involved with each one's school and extra-curricular activities when and wherever needed. She was active in her church, taught Sunday School, and volunteered for election board duties for many years.
After Don's retirement in 1975 they sold their Spokane home and apartment rentals and returned to Wilbur. A new career combined their love of travel with their desire to serve others in missionary work, building churches and schools throughout the United States with both Maranatha and Mission Builders with the SDA denomination. Nona also spent time caring for her mother in her final years in the late 80's in Wilbur. Returning to Spokane in 2000 Nona resided at Park Place Retirement Community in Independent Living while Don resided in their Memory Care wing. Everywhere Nona went she made many friends, and the staff and residents at Park Place were no different. After Don's passing in May 2009, just one month shy of their 70th wedding anniversary, and when her own condition began to decline, Nona went to live with her daughter, Debbie. This past year the wonderful, caring people of Hospice of Spokane became involved with her care as well.
Nona is survived by her three daughters, Tamara Helm of Pullman, Debra Rice and Jana Kimpel both of Spokane, her sister Metra (Champion) also of Spokane, granddaughter Brenna Helm-Manwaring (Jon) of Pullman, grandson John Boone Helm (Hannah) of Bellevue, WA, two great-grandchildren, Rowan and North Manwaring, as well as a number of nieces and nephews and their families, cousins, and friends. She loved and adored them all.
A memorial celebration of Nona's life will be held in Davenport, WA at Strate Funeral Home, 505 10th, Monday, Sept. 29, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. Pastor Wayne Searson, officiating. In lieu of flowers please make contributions to: Hospice of Spokane, PO Box 2215, Spokane 99210. Please sign the online guestbook at www.stratefuneralhome.com.
STRATE FUNERAL HOME, DAVENPORT, WA is caring for the family.