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The Word

"He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces..."
– Isaiah 25:8 (NIV)

Brian Kimble

In Memoriam

Brian Kimble, 1982-2004

By Gary Fallesen

LITCHFIELD, Conn. — Brian Kimble was remembered as a child of God, a devoted servant of the Lord, and a beloved son, brother and friend during the Dec. 2, 2005 sentencing hearing for the woman who killed him, Yong Mi Olsen. Olsen was sentenced to 32 years in prison with no chance for parole or early release.

Brian's father, Kevin, described his 22-year-old son as a person who would seek out those who were alone or considered by some to be outsiders. “These are the people you would find my son with,” Kevin told the court. “He found, every day, some way to show his love and concern for people.”

Laurie Kimble, Brian's mother, talked about the kindness of her son, who was born on Mother's Day in 1982. She told about his desire to serve, how he raised $2,000 when he was in high school in Greece, N.Y., so he could go on a month-long mission trip to Botswana, Africa, to “let others know about God's love and Jesus.” Laurie said he “came back deeply touched by the people of Africa.” He dreamed of returning one day with his engineering degree from Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y. “He wanted to help people have a better life.”

Brian met Olsen in a rock-climbing gym and the pair dated until Brian broke off the relationship in the fall of 2004. Olsen kept her age (39) and a previous marriage and child a secret. These things were learned after his Dec. 11, 2004 death.

Olsen did not speak during the hearing. She sat in a chair, looking straight ahead. She did not look at the Kimble family to her right or at any of the photographs projected on a screen to her left.

In a statement through her public defender, she apologized to the family and referred to herself as “evil” and as having taken an “angel” from this world.

Superior Court Judge Charles D. Gill spoke after listening to Kevin, Laurie, and Brian's oldest sister, Katie, speak in the hour-long proceeding, which was attended by more than 50 of the Kimbles' family and friends, including more than two dozen from their home church, Hope Lutheran in Greece, N.Y.

Gill told Olsen: “I'm perhaps going to be a little less Christian than the Kimble family.

“You are a liar. I think your life has been pretty much a fraud. You took advantage of a young man who is young enough to be your son. You are a manipulator.”

He said, for the record, that her claims that she had somehow been mistreated by Brian were untrue. “Brian never mistreated you in any way.” He said what she did to Brian was a “despicable inhumane act.”

Laurie Kimble told Olsen that while her act of murder was unforgivable, the family has forgiveness for her in their hearts. Laurie added that it is their prayer that Olsen would one day know the Lord as they do and have His peace.

 

News of Brian Kimble's murder

It is with a heavy heart that I report the death of Climbing For Christ member Brian Kimble. Brian was killed Saturday, Dec. 11, 2004 at his apartment in Torrington, Conn. His former girlfriend confessed to the murder. Brian was 22 years old.

I watched Brian grow up in the church and was overjoyed last January when he became a member of this organization. He’d taken up climbing while studying mechanical engineering at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y. As his father, Kevin, told the Hartford Courant: "He had a passion for mountain climbing and a strong relationship with the Lord."

Brian served faithfully and exuded the light of Jesus. He was always grinning and full of an eternal optimism. Brian was not dissuaded from climbing after a nasty fall in February. That fall made E-Newsletter No. 11 because Kevin, who I have directed in drama ministry in our church for many years, requested that our family of Christian climbers lift Brian’s healing up in prayer.

Now I ask that you lift up the healing of the Kimble family – Kevin, Brian’s mother Laurie and his older sisters Katie and Holly. They will miss him incredibly even as they rejoice that one day they will be together for all time. Brian walked with our Risen Lord and climbed in His direction.

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints," it says in Psalm 116:15-16. "O Lord, truly I am your servant; I am your servant, your faithful son; you have freed me from my chains."

A memorial service was held Dec. 16, 2004 at Hillside Community Church in Forestville, Conn. A message from the Kimble family:

Our dear friends:

Thank you for your continued prayers and support of our family. As you get down on your knees, we are lifted up and held in His strength.  God has been so gracious to us in our time of need. We celebrated Brian's life at the church he attended in Connecticut. We were blessed beyond measure at the outpouring of love from so many people that Brian knew for just three short months. What a beautiful testimony to our son that his life touched so many people in such a brief period. There was standing room only in a church that seats about 125 people. We rejoice that Brian knew Jesus and is now resting in His arms. The leaders of the young adult group that Brian attended put their lives on hold for us for three days. We had not met them before Wednesday (Dec. 15) when they met with us to plan Brian's celebration. They cried with us, prayed with us, shared Brian stories and hosted a reception at their home after the service. We expected about 20-25 people. Over 50 showed up. Timken, where Brian worked, provided our hotel accomodations. They brought us in to meet Brian's co-workers and share stories with them. They provided a grief counselor for their employees. They brought boxes over to Brian's apartment so we could pack up some of his belongings. We were amazed at the number of young people that Brian knew from Clarkson who travelled to be there. One of them came all the way from Wyoming where he had just started a job this week. We have been blessed beyond measure. Your prayers surround us and we draw strength from them.

God bless you all,
Kevin, Laurie, Katie and Holly Kimble

The life of Brian Kimble was celebrated by about 1,000 people at Hope Lutheran Church in Greece, N.Y. on Dec. 21, 2004. Before the service, the Kimble family wrote these words:

As we read the cards and the e-mails that have been pouring in, there is a question that keeps popping up in various forms. We would like to address that question. It is, “Why did God take Brian?” God did NOT take Brian. He is also in pain and He grieves with us. This is not how He intended His creation to behave. God had great plans for Brian’s life and is saddened that it was cut short. Sin in this world is what took Brian. A person who did not walk with the Lord made a choice, a sinful choice, and took the life of another person. That person happened to be our son. But the amazing thing about God is that He can make good come out of bad. He tells us in Romans that “in all things God works for good with those who love Him.” We know, without a shadow of a doubt, that God will cause blessings to come from Brian’s death. We see this happening already and we expectantly await those yet to come.”

We thank all of you and rejoice in the support of friends.

Kevin, Laurie, Katie and Holly Kimble

Tribute

“Kimble and I started our climbing careers together. We didn't know much and we certainly kept getting confused with 'On belay, belay on' – who said what, I couldn't tell ya. So Kimble and I recreated it into something we could remember: 'On Rock, Rock On.'”
– Eric Andrew Gessner
Brian Kimble's climbing partner (on Rock Climbing.com)

 

If you would like to share a memory or a thought about Brian Kimble, e-mail gfallesen@climbingforchrist.org

“I am praying for the Kimble family. What a loss, but our brother is in heaven with our Lord and there is no better place. He will be waiting for all of us to come home to.”
Kyle Riggins
Climbing For Christ member from Colorado

“Memories of Brian are many ... he loved the outdoors, especially the opportunities we had to camp as a youth group. I know he is dancing with his Father now and enjoying every moment at the banquet table. Brian was a witness to all he came in contact with.  He truly 'lived God loud' and we will miss him deeply.”
Jill Stojkovic
Director of Youth Ministries, Hope Church

“I am from Pennsylvania and although I never met Brian Kimble I got to know him through the Internet. I always loved hearing about his climbing adventures and we had talked about meeting and spending some time together. It won't happen now until I am in heaven with this bright, outgoing, sweet guy. Rest in peace Brian. God bless the Kimbles. One last word to all of his family and friends out there:
“'You are not alive yesterday.
You are not alive tomorrow.
B
ut you're alive at the moment.
If you can grab something for that moment you have a chance.'”
Michelle Zurawski

Memorial Scholarship

If you are high school or college age (25 or younger) and going on an Evangelic Expedition with Climbing For Christ, you may apply for the Brian Kimble Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship is intended to assist young members of Climbing For Christ to go on mission trips. CLICK HERE for information.

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