Ann Kimble wasn’t Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman had her super accessories like indestructible bracelets that could fend off bullets and her tiara which acted as a projectile, not to mention an invisible airplane.
Kimble had a wheelchair and something that made her far more powerful than the fictional super-heroine: a big heart and resilient spirit.
Kimble, born in Miami on June 12, 1950, died at 64 at her Southwest Miami-Dade home on Sept. 25 from complications of lupus, a disease she had battled for decades that causes the immune system to attack the body's cells and tissue.
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In addition, over the years, she also survived a heart attack, breast cancer and was struck by lightning not once, but twice, while standing in the same spot in her Richmond Heights kitchen, her son Quentin Kimble said from his home in North Carolina.
“She was the most courageous person I’ve ever known,” Kimble, 43, said. “She was in a wheelchair most of my life. She was given heavy doses of Prednisone which started deteriorating her bones and she was going to surgery after surgery for so much of my life. She held on a long time, dealing with the pain, yet was still able to get out in the community and affect lives in a positive way.
“As I said at her funeral, I was so used to Mom being in a wheelchair but now that she’s gotten into heaven it was finally her chance to run and dance.” Kimble pauses. “She was able to make an imprint.”
Among Kimble’s actions on behalf of the disabled: She served on the Miami-Dade Commission on Disability Issues, an advisory board to Miami-Dade County commissioners. She also served on the board of Catalyst Miami, a community leadership and advocacy organization founded by Miami-Dade Commissioner-elect Daniella Levine Cava in 1996.
And Kimble was the executive director and steering committee member of the Cross-Disability Transportation Issues Committee (CDTIC), an advocacy organization geared to bolster public transportation options for people with disabilities.
“One of my main causes was housing and accessible, reliable transportation for people with disabilities,” she said in a YouTube video she uploaded in 2011. “A lot of time people lose jobs because of transportation issues.”
Kimble learned how commissions work and how to navigate among politicians. A regular visitor to Tallahassee, she worked with state representatives and local elected officials “and told them of our issues. I was able to start my own organization, the CDTIC, and we made a lot of changes,” she said.
“Catalyst Miami has given me so much, I can’t give them enough,” Kimble said in the video. “Any time I’m called, I’m here. I’m willing to give … just to reach one person, to make a difference in somebody’s life — be it health, be it financial, housing, whatever our goals may be.”
Damian Gregory, a former journalist with the Sun-Sentinel and Caribbean Today, was one such person who befriended Kimble thanks to her efforts.
“She had become one of my closest friends. I have a disability and she was a mentor in not only teaching the ways of advocacy but in teaching one how to deal with life’s ups and downs. She’s had a lot of adversity in her life but despite all that she always had a wicked sense of humor and a spark of life,” he said.
“She taught me it’s OK to march to the beat of my own drum and not be afraid to laugh — even at things others might find dark,” Gregory said. “We all only come here once but when somebody leaves, hopefully, the goal should be to leave a huge footprint and she did that.”
Kimble is survived by her sons Quentin and Xavier, and two grandchildren. Services were held.
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