Lillian Marie Tehilla Nieminen Kimball
July 2, 1925 – March 8, 2021
Lillian Marie Tehilla Nieminen Kimball passed away peacefully at home on Monday, March 8, 2021 in Concord, California. She was born July 2, 1925 to Finnish immigrant parents, Onni Jalmar and Tehilla Nieminen, in Painesville, Ohio. After graduating from Harvey High School, Lillian completed a course in business school after which she worked full time in Cleveland. After a few years, she made the adventurous move to Albuquerque, New Mexico with a friend who wanted to move there for health reasons. While in Albuquerque, she worked at the Sandia Base Nuclear Laboratory and eventually met her husband, Leon Kimball, an engineering student at the University of New Mexico. After Leon’s graduation, they were married and moved to Provo, Utah for Leon’s first job with US Steel and where their firstborn child, David was born. After a year, they relocated to northern California where their other four children, Karen, Susan, Kristine and Daniel were born. Lillian’s primary lifetime occupation was her family.
Lillian loved to travel, near and far, be it just a few days or a few weeks. She loved road trips throughout California and the Southwest as well as cross country drives to her hometown in Ohio and Karen’s home in Washington State. Hawaii was also a favorite place to vacation. Fortunately, she was able to visit Finland a couple of times to meet cousins and experience her parents’ homeland and culture. She would rent a cabin or motel in Ben Lomond or Santa Cruz so that her family could spend a week at the beach in Santa Cruz. She loved the beach as much as her children did.
Lillian took up various hobbies and activities throughout her life. As a young adult, she took horseback riding and art lessons. She decorated her homes with homemade curtains and pillows and dressed her children in homemade clothing, especially holiday outfits. When she made cookies, she made huge batches so that after taking some to school or scouting activities, her children would still have more at home. In the late 60s, she played a large role in the building of her and Leon’s home in Orinda, California. She spent many hours, days and months finding the right cabinets and bath and kitchen fixtures for the new home as well as staining all of the woodwork in the house. After her children were grown, Lillian passionately took up photography and quilting. Other favorite pastimes were going out for coffee or lunch, visiting art museums, and exploring any part of any town or city, at almost any time. She was always busy with something. Being truly a lifelong learner, she took pleasure in sharing both the material and intellectual results of her learning.
Lillian, who liked to be called Lily in her later years, was preceded in death by her parents, four brothers, two sisters and a nephew. She out lived all of her friends. She is survived by her five children, David (Bobbi) Kimball, Karen (Steve) Gilbert, Susan (Tom) Treadway, Kristine (Gary) Blair and Daniel as well as nine grandchildren, Maija Gilbert, Justin Gilbert, Harley Gilbert, Levi Gilbert, Logan Blair, Shelby Blair, David Alexander Blair, Annaliese Kimball and Jack Kimball. She is also survived by six nieces and nephews, eight grandnieces and grandnephews and seven great grandnieces and great grandnephews. She is greatly missed by all, but her spirit lives on.
Lillian’s never wavering faith in God carried her through the ups and downs of her life. She spent her last few years in quiet peace, satisfied with the path through which life had taken her. While waiting for her time to go home to the Kingdom of Everlasting Life with God, she cherished the nearly daily visits of her children and grandchildren which always ended with her reminder, “Jesus loves you.”
In Loving Memory
Lillian, a.k.a. Lily,
Blossomed on the shores of Lake Erie
Of parents who immigrated from Finland
With four brothers and two sisters
Who migrated in search of a better life in Albuquerque
Who married out of the security of a man with prospects
Together moved to the Golden State
Who born five children of their own
Boy girl girl girl boy
Here we are together to honor our mother
May Lily rest in peace in her final resting place
Lillian is a traditionally feminine name derived from the Lily flower, much like Lilia, Liliana, Lily or Lillie. The name has roots in English, Hebrew and German, and is said to mean innocence, purity and beauty (ideals that the lily flower has come to symbolize).
Lillian, the last of her Nieminen generation, her bloodline lives on in her children and grandchildren.
The Kimball family wishes to thank the staff at Saint Martha Care Home for the kind care they gave our mother in the last years of her life.
We also wish to thank the staff at Suncrest Hospice for the compassionate comfort they provided our mother in her final days on earth.
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