Born on September 11, 1955, at Langley AFB, Virginia, passed away on June 28, 2019; survived by parents, Bernard P. Friel and Damaris H. Friel, siblings, Deirdre L. Rains and Kevin S. Friel, uncle James C. Friel, nephew Colin Rains, and brother-in-law Blair Rains. She will be missed by special friends Cheryl Hilber, Alison Staples, Jessica Ross, Stephen Woodworth, Nancy Francuz, Sue Plantenberg and Jo Bergstrom, and many others to whom her care was entrusted over the past 50 years.
Kimberly was born with a rare condition, Tuberous Sclerosis, which significantly impaired her mental capabilities, but not her ability to enjoy her life to the full extent of those capabilities. Her family shared the joy of witnessing her simple pleasures while enduring also the pain of what might have been. Those simple pleasures included among many others, a week or two at Camp Friendship every year for the last 55 years, daily attendance and participation in Lifeworks programs for over 25 years, opening gifts at Christmas, Easter and on her birthday, and watching Sarah Brightman and John Denver music videos.
Living at home until her early teen years Kim attended special education classes in her local Mendota Heights school district. Thereafter, she lived in institutional settings and group homes for the rest of her life, and her family is forever grateful for the loving care and guidance she received from among others Opal Services, Dakota County Social Services and Lifeworks, and the caregivers at Fairview Southdale Hospital during her recent hospitalization.
Though Kim resided in group facilities, she was included in all family celebrations including bridesmaid in her sister’s wedding, and was always home with her family for extended periods on all holidays and her birthdays, and for weekends when holidays were more than a few weeks apart. For her family it was a blessing to experience Kim’s childlike happiness and excitement on her birthdays and at each holiday celebration through all of her 63 years.
Though mentally impaired she was eventually able to make her wishes known using nearly correct words and partial sentences, usually, to describe what she did or did not want. She liked Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Fourth of July, Valentines Day, Halloween, anything with hearts on it, coloring books, pictures in magazines, new clothes, gazpacho, chili with Tabasco sauce, and diet lime coke.
From her infancy Kim suffered the pain and fear that accompanies unexpected seizures. Seizures that were small and momentary to more serious ones that led to falls, and sometimes resulted in injury. Seizures were not rare events, and sometimes occurred several times in a day. She was sometimes aware that a seizure was impending, and sometimes could tell you when it was about to be over. These were heart-wrenching experiences for everyone. Fortunately, during all but her last few years, she was remarkably free of the colds and flu and the other medical maladies that afflict most of us in our advancing years.
Kim with her cheerful manner, brave spirit and persistent positive attitude made the lives of her family and others entrusted with her care much richer. She was deeply loved and will be painfully missed.
Visitation will be from 4:00 P.M. until 7:00 P.M. Tuesday, July 9, 2019, at Willwerscheid Funeral Home, 1167 Grand Ave., St. Paul, MN 55105, with private interment at Lakewood Cemetery on July 10, 2019.
Memorials preferred to True Friends (Camp Friendship), Lifeworks, the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance, Fairview Foundation, or a charity of the donor’s choice.