In 2008 Ward 1 Councillor James Kimmerle learned he was sick with Mylo-Fibrosis, a serious blood disorder.
He began treatment at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, enrolling in a once a month medical program that was supposed to have led to a bone marrow transplant and a new lease on life.
The treatments failed to stem the destructive path of the disease.
Sunday night at 2:20 a.m., with his family at his bedside at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Kimmerle died.
He was 56 years old.
“He wasn’t looking for sympathy. He never complained. He sought his privacy to the end,” said his father, Robert Kimmerle.
“As a man and as a friend, he was one of the greatest. As a son, he was the best any father could have hoped for,” he added.
News of Kimmerle’s death spread throughout the city. His colleagues on the city council expressed shock and disappointment that Kimmerle had died.
Council President Anthony Zambuto said he was saddened by Kimmerle’s passing.
“He was a first-class guy, honest, decent, always a gentleman. He was completely dedicated to his ward,” Zambuto said.
Bruce Singer, a longtime friend, whose mother Rita served as Ward 1 councillor years ago, echoed Zambuto’s thoughts.
“Jimmy was a gentleman – a sweet, sweet guy, loyal to his friends. I was there with him when he first got elected. He was ecstatic. You could feel it,” Singer added.
Singer said Kimmerle didn’t want anyone to see him suffering. He said he kept his suffering to himself.
When a reporter told him the Journal was going to run a short story on his battle against cancer, he politely requested the article be removed.
“I am a very private person,” he said. “I’d rather go through this without any notoriety.”
That was three weeks ago.
Thursday afternoon at Vazza’s Beechwood Funeral Home on Beach Street, Kimmerle will be waked from 2:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Friday morning, following a Funeral Mass from the Immaculate Conception Church at 10:30 a.m., he will be buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Malden.
James Kimmerle was born in Syracuse New York on October 15, 1954.
He was the third child in a family of three born to Robert and Mary Kimmerle.
His father lives in the family home on Endicott Avenue. His mother is deceased.
Kimmerle was brought up in a middle class household, spending the first five years of his life in Syracuse.
His father worked for Western Union. The family came to Massachusetts when his father was transferred by the company.
The Kimmerle’s lived in East Boston for eight years, moving to Beachmont in 1967.
Kimmerle graduated from Revere High School in 1972.
As a teenager, according to his father, he played baseball and earned money walking thoroughbred horses at Suffolk Downs.
As a young man, he went to work as a salesman for a local firm – Anderson Construction. He worked there all his adult life.
He married Sylvia Gifford of Dotham, Alabama in 1975.
Two children were born of the marriage; a son, Justin, 25; and a daughter, Kristin, 21.
About four years ago, Kimmerle’s interest in local politics brought him to a run for the Ward 1 seat, which he won handily.
He was re-elected last year and was serving in his second term when he died.
“He seemed to feel we needed a good ward councilor and he was determined to be that man,” recalled his father.
“He told me he thought he could do a good job and I believe he did. We’re all very proud of him,” his father said.
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