Mother-in-law always put family first

Although she was only a Trumbull County resident for a brief time in the early 1970s, I hope you’ll indulge me today if I share some snapshots of the life of one very special lady: Evon Ann Kimerer.

We shared a surname and so much more since that day in 1995 when I became her daughter-in-law.

My mother-in-law and I shared Christmases and birthdays and laughter and tears. We shared accidents and bumps-and-bruises and sun-filled picnics and Lake Erie excursions.

We shared hope and worry and happiness and sad times. We shared a love of music from “The Phantom of the Opera,” a taste for cranberries, the selection of pistachio fluff as a signature party dish, a belief in the importance of education and a deep Christian faith.

This past Tuesday, my mother-in-law lost a long, courageous and often brutal battle with Parkinson’s disease, a curse she bore with courage and pride for nearly 20 years. Today, I dedicate this space to all that she was; because her affliction did not define her. She was so much more than that.

She was so many things to so many people. A devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, she loved her family above all else.

She was one-half of a truly great love story. After their initial meeting Eagle River Lodge in Wisconsin as teens so many years ago, Mom and Dad (Donald) Kimerer became husband and wife in 1957, the same year she graduated college with a teaching degree. Though, as the story goes, she needed some convincing to even go out with him at first.

But seriously, once joined, they were virtually inseparable, and it was clear to anyone that they were completely devoted to each other and their children. They treasured their life together and always displayed a deep love and devotion for one another.

Family, friends and faith have always meant the world to them. They have been known to host countless holiday, birthday and just plain-old “get-together” card parties or cheese-and-wine gatherings with their kin and pals. They simply enjoyed life.

Mom was entirely devoted to her family; aside from Dad, there was no one in the world she loved more than her daughter Kim and sons, Ken and Kerry, her four grandchildren and, later, her great-grandson, Trevor.

Over the years, she could be found supporting my nephew Cody at his band or bowling events, my niece Carly at her dance recitals, my niece Alexis at her softball games and my own little Kyle at his early soccer matches.

Fiercely traditional and proper, she was an educator to be feared, respected and most of all loved. It is a fact that many, many people over the years have approached me to tell me she was their favorite teacher. But she was no pushover, either – and even let Kerry hang when his boyhood antics landed him in the principal’s office at Ellsworth Elementary School where she taught for some 20 years. Nope, when he showed up sheepishly at her classroom door well in search of an intervention she told him to march right down there to the office and deal with it himself. There’d be no preferential treatment for him! He got himself into that spot, he could get himself out of it. Mom K. was tough – but fair!

And yet, even as conservative as she was, Mom was something of a free spirit. Indeed, she was a modern day woman – independent, strong and someone who supported women in the workforce and in positions of authority.

Yes, Mom K. loved her family, friends and faith to be certain and she was obviously one very tough cookie.

In the end, she faced an unimaginably cruel disease with such grace and dignity. She touched so many lives in so many ways.

As for me: she gave me a gift I’ll never be able to repay. Because, if it wasn’t for her baby boy, I wouldn’t have the single greatest joy and love in my life: my baby boy.

Thank you, Mom. Goodbye for now you will be greatly missed.

Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist and grateful daughter-in-law. Contact her at