On Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, Enid Kimmel passed on peacefully in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Enid was born to her parents, Estella and Luther Stakemann, on June 3, 1913, in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, while it still was under the Danish flag. In those days, there were no ultrasounds, so it was quite a surprise when twin girls arrived. Both sisters excelled as musicians. Edris became the piano teacher to several generations of children on St. Thomas. Enid sang and played the violin while Edris accompanied her on the organ at All Saints Episcopal Church.
Later, Enid became a board member and sang with the Caribbean Chorale. The Art League grew out of the desire of the late Aline Kean, Aubrey Ottley, Antonio Jarvis and Enid Stakemann Kimmel to bring St. Thomians together who were enthusiastic artists. Enid won best watercolor artist in 1949 for her painting of a typical "Island Kitchen" (see The Daily News, Aug. 8, 1949).
Watercolor was her medium, and she was very passionate about painting, going on to win many awards, including winning three prizes in the 1955 Caribbean Art Contest sponsored by the Alcoa Steamship Company. Although she experimented with different art forms, Enid was always driven to capture a special essence. Her island landscapes, seascapes and flowers - especially the hibiscus - were purely her own. Her son-in-law believes there is no one who could capture the essence of a coconut palm like Enid did. Her watercolors will be remembered fondly by all.
On June 7, 1943, Enid married Telford Kimmel at All Saints Church, St. Thomas. Two daughters were born of this union. After living on the U.S. mainland for five years, Enid returned to St. Thomas to care for her ailing mother and raise her daughters in her homeland. Following her return, Enid became an employee of the U.S. Customs Office for 30 years, retiring in June 1973. While there she was awarded medals for her competency.
Never learning to drive, she walked here, there and everywhere with her to do list, never too busy to stop and chat. Grandson Ronnie imagined Nanny cruising in a convertible, top down, through the North Side, but knew deep down that she simply preferred walking. She loved walking from an early age, and often she and Edris and her friends, especially Alma and Grace Jensen, would walk from Domini Gade to Magens Bay. She would think nothing of leaving doors and windows wide open while she took moonlit strolls along the waterfront with her dog. In later years, she could be seen in the cool early hours pruning her hibiscus and bougainvillea bushes, as well as her morning glory vines.
Enid Kimmel remained active in church, music, art, as an officer in the Business and Professional Women's Organization and in the Friends of Denmark Society. She travelled twice to Denmark with fellow society members and hosted Danish visitors to St. Thomas several times.
As a beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, godparent, aunt and friend, "our beloved Nanny," as she was known since 1964, has carved an indelible place in the hearts of us all. Her gentleness, generosity, sense of humor, love, warmth, sincerity and sense of propriety (always teaching her grandchildren proper manners, right from wrong, not to forget to say, "Good day" to everyone) are her legacy to us.
Granddaughter Rozlyn says, "She was the sweetest person I've ever known and the most wonderful grandmother I could ask for. She made you feel special and always had time for you." This sentiment has been echoed by all her grandchildren.
Nanny lived with her daughter Marian in Pennsylvania for a number of years and later with her daughter Kirsten. As the years passed and her health declined, she was cared for lovingly by Kirsten and dedicated caregivers: Dorothy and James Domingo, Trina, Lydia, and many others. Her passing was filled with comfort, peace and faith.
Enid is survived by her devoted daughters, Kirsten Kimmel and Marian (Ingrid) Czukoski and son-in-law Robert Czukoski. She leaves behind a legacy of grandchildren and their spouses: Roxanne and Douglas Gall, Ronald Chambers, Davin and Bonnie Czukoski, Troy and Ann Czukoski, Kristin Taylor, Rozlyn Chambers and Karl and Hui Czukoski.
Some of her grandchildren lived on St. Thomas and were able to visit with her on a regular basis. Nanny did paintings and crafts with them. She shared her love of Camille Pissarro, who also was born on St. Thomas, with her oldest grandchild Roxanne. As they walked downtown, she often pointed out the Pissarro Building.
Others remember their many childhood trips to see Nanny on St. Thomas. All of her grandchildren enjoyed swimming with her in the turquoise waters, collecting shells, painting pictures and exploring Charlotte Amalie and St. John with her. Until 1927, when her father passed away, the family spent every summer at Mary's Point, St. John, on their family estate, now part of the National Park. She took pottery classes and enjoyed making angels from dried palm barks. In 1981, she participated in the first and subsequent Tillett Gardens Arts and Crafts Fairs. She painted mango seeds with faces and styled the fibers as hair. She was pictured in an ad poster that initial year, smiling proudly. So creative and talented.
Back and forth Nanny went from St. Thomas to Pennsylvania to Hawaii to visit her children and grandchildren. She always listened, gave advice, showed concern and lots of love. Her family tree continues with her 10 great-grandchildren, Jalen Taylor, Eve Taylor, Jared Czukoski, April Gall, Travis Czukoski, Rebekah Czukoski, Tyler Czukoski, Melody Czukoski, Kayla Czukoski, Dylan Chambers and another little one due this August. Enid also is survived by her great-niece and husband, Valarie and Paul Sims; three grandnieces, Lera Wiggins, Heather Readus and Brittany Scott; one grandnephew, Brandon Scott; two great-grandnieces Gizelle and Gabrielle Readus; one great-grandnephew, Caleb Malakih; two godsons, John Joseph Jr. and Stephen Brady, and one amazing goddaughter, Carmen Lindesay, who remembers Nen Enid as an angel with a generous spirit as well as a wicked sense of humor. Elaine Reese and Rita Moore remember her as a treasured friend. Hilda Mattavous remembered calling her on her 98th birthday, as she often did on special occasions. Mom, still caring, again inquired about Hilda and her two daughters, Charlene and Doris.
So many of Enid's relatives and friends are in heaven to greet her. She is predeceased by her mother and father, Estella and Luther; her sister, Esme Cross; brother, Lawrence Stakemann; twin sister, Edris Stakemann Shepperson; aunt and uncle Edith and Arturo Duurloo; her special niece, Edith Davis; former husband, Telford; and her many very special friends.
We will miss you; however, your memory will remain indelible in our hearts. Your suffering is over. Enter now into God's promised peace and rest.
A memorial service for Nanny - Enid - will be on Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. at All Saints Episcopal Church. A service in Downingtown, Penn., will be on June 2 at 11 a.m. at St. James Episcopal Church.
Kraft-Sussman Funeral Services of Las Vegas, Nev., handled the arrangements.
- Obituary written by the family.