Obituary: Jay Kimball, 1958-2023 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Jay Kimball, 1958-2023 

Worcester logger had a fondness for gardening, four-legged creatures and all things green

Published December 7, 2023 at 6:00 a.m.

click to enlarge Jay Kimball - COURTESY
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  • Jay Kimball

Jay Kimball, 65, of Worcester Vt., passed away peacefully in his sleep on October 15, 2023, in Moretown, Vt. He was the youngest of four siblings and the son of (the late) Gordon Kimball Jr. and Madelyn Maxham Kimball, of Worcester, Vt. His siblings were Gordon “Butch” Kimball Sr., Patricia Kimball-Wells Koehler and (the late) Kevin Kimball.

Jay grew up on the family farm, with an early exposure to his father's logging business and where he became an expert caretaker of horses and respected their capacity for hard work. His love for these animals remained with him throughout his life, as did the world of logging.

His journeys led him to a job in South Woodstock, where he met Anne Duffy, in a horse barn. The pair stuck together, and in the late ‘70s, with a handful of good friends, they moved west toward vast landscapes and big skies where Jay’s brothers Butch and Kevin had previously settled to explore work in the drilling industry.

Eventually, Jay and Anne settled back in Worcester. In the early ‘80s they purchased a portion of the family’s property, now known as Kimball Road, and built a home where they raised their children. Their son, Joshua Kimball, of East Montpelier, Vt., and daughter, Jessica Kimball, of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, grew up immersed in outdoor exploration and shared family responsibilities. They hauled firewood through the snow, aided in tending the family’s horses and learned practical skills at a young age. There was always an adventure on the horizon; on cue, the kids knew to hop out of the wood truck to lock hubcaps in the winter, and at a young age learned to navigate (with assistance) the family's F350 diesel up the steep and intimidating driveway leading to their home.

Jay wasn't just a driven worker; he also held unique and loving characteristics as a father. It wasn’t out of the ordinary for him to show up to his kids' holiday shows in steel spiked logging boots, sawdust-covered denim and flannel shirts likely left over from the ‘70s. He was not to be found in the neatly arranged rows of chairs next to other families but rather in the back corner of the gymnasium nearest the door. When the last note was sung by Josh or Jessie, a quick exit was made by Jay, believing it was less about his presence to others and more about his children’s performances. Jay embraced his true self without any need for external validation.

Jay was known to bond with his children over the smallest of things. Identifying trees during woodland walks and memorizing back-road connections were frequent topics with his kids.

Jessie embarked upon many early-morning, sleepy-turned-chatty trips to the logging mill, but never before their ritual breakfast that included two sugary cups of coffee and a hot chocolate with extra whipped cream.

Josh had the privilege of riding copilot with his dad, clocking many miles on tractor trailer trips all over the state. Jay’s support was present at almost all of his son’s frosty, early-morning hockey games, also many miles away from home. Still standing today is the plywood fort they built together across the Minister Brook on the family property.

Jay and Anne eventually parted ways, yet he always remained a true Worcester man. Despite spending years in the village, where he was known to frequently welcome visitors to shoot the breeze and share tall tales on his front porch, he was drawn back to Kimball Road. He lived on Butch's property for years and built a cabin behind the horse pasture where he could relish in the serenity of the Minister Brook.

Jay eventually settled on his daughter's property in Moretown. He loved life there, tucked away in the woods, alongside nature. Jay, often engrossed in a book or meandering in the woods, found pleasure in the little things. With a fondness for gardening and animals, he took care of the roses, lilies and all things green. Any four-legged creature seeking attention found a friend in him. That world in the woods was where Jay was happiest, while feeding his spirit and his love for simplicity.

Throughout his life, Jay was graced with a wealth of supportive friends from all walks of life, young and old(er), near and far. Their invaluable support meant the world to him.

His dear friends, the Worcester community and his family — both immediate and extending to his many cousins, nieces, nephews and grandchildren — will always remember and miss Jay. However, he would nudge everyone not to cry but to celebrate life with laughter, music and a sense of contentment.

In the spring 2024, an outdoor celebration of Jay's life will be held in Worcester, to be shared with friends and family.

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