Obituary: Charlotte Ann Kimball

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Charlotte Ann Kimball (Courtesy photo)

Charlotte Ann Kimball passed away on Jan. 29, 2023, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. Charlotte and her second husband Tom W. Neely lived in Winters for nearly 30 years, until Tom passed away on July 6, 2020.

Charlotte was born on Nov. 17, 1943 in Berkeley, Calif. Charlotte’s upbringing in a family with three brothers forged a lifelong pattern of proving herself while retaining empathy for the downtrodden. Following the example set by her mother Betty, throughout her life she sought out opportunities to help others. In Winters, Charlotte particularly enjoyed teaching gardening for many years, at Wolfskill Continuation High School, seeing in students’ great potential, where others only saw misfits.

Charlotte attended UC Davis, immersing herself in the study of botany while also meeting her first husband John Glenn, and lifelong family friends, Jim and Gay VerSteeg. Charlotte began teaching in Modoc County in 1968/9 as the first woman Ag teacher in the State, for which she was later honored by UC Davis’ School of Education. See During that time period, Charlotte and John lived on the Vassar Ranch, becoming close to Ann and Lucy Vassar.  There were innumerable trips and adventures as life took Charlotte and John first to Oregon, then to Georgia, and then back again to Dixon and the Vassars.

Later, as a teacher, first in Vacaville and then in Dixon, Charlotte became lifelong friends with Georgeanne Brennan. Georgeanne and Charlotte went on to found Le Marche Seeds International, an early supporter and proponent of the California Cuisine revolution. Le Marche built on Georgeanne’s experience living in Southern France and Charlotte’s deep technical knowledge of botany. Jointly they brought in vegetables, herbs and particularly lettuces from global sources to be grown locally. One of their most lasting accomplishments was formulating the bagged salad mixes that are now so ubiquitous.

Charlotte subsequently went on to manage large-scale re-vegetation projects for utilities, initially at Bechtel in San Francisco, and then via Kimball Neely Associates, a consulting firm run in partnership with Tom.  Remaining interested in education, Charlotte was an ardent supporter of the Winters Friends of the Library.   She and Tom were very involved in the annual tree and bulb sales and they believed strongly in providing educational access for all.

Charlotte and Tom enjoyed plays, music and the Winters community. Nana Banana and Tommy Two-Tone, affectionate names given by Charlotte’s grandchildren, Sage and Max, were always up for an adventure with the grandkids — from riding donkeys to trips to the Oregon coast.

As her Alzheimers progressed Charlotte treasured her daily dog walks with her loyal dog Bo and the Russell Street crew; remaining topics of conversation well into her advanced illness.

Charlotte’s interests, curiosity, and acceptance of others created a vast network of friends, wherever she went.

As her brother-in-law Bob remarked, there wasn’t much that Charlotte couldn’t do and, if she wanted to do it, there wasn’t much dissuading her.

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