Kimberly Ann Guth was born on February 27, 1955 in Chicago, the second child of Evelyn and Robert Arthofer. She grew up with 3 sisters, Laura, Sue, and Karen, and 2 brothers, Bob and Kurt, in a suburb of Chicago called Hoffman Estates.
Kim had a generous spirit even as a young child, giving selflessly and caring for her younger siblings. Her sister Sue fondly remembers that Kim would walk her siblings to the store to each buy a candy bar, and share hers with them instead of enjoying it herself. Kim’s love of sewing began at a young age as well, and as a teen, she once sewed her mom an evening gown for her parent’s anniversary and surprised them with tickets to a dinner show.
In high school, Kim met her sweetheart and future husband, Jim. Jim was friends with Kim’s brothers, and Grandma Arthofer loves to recount the stories of how it took her a while to figure out that Jim was starting to drop by the house in hopes of visiting with Kim instead of her brothers! Their first official date was to a local mountain to ski, and Kim trusted Jim to take her to the top of the mountain. Unfortunately she fell and ended up with a compound fracture in her leg and ended up needing a cast up to her hip! Even still, their romance bloomed and Dad took Mom to the junior prom and they soon became inseparable- even today, their car license plate reads “JimKim1”.
After high school, Jim attended Notre Dame and Kim went to nursing school in Indiana, remaining sweethearts throughout. They married in a free spirited wedding at Notre Dame Cathedral in May 1976. Kim wore a flowing white linen dress and a white floppy hat and they danced to Peter Frampton’s “Do You Feel Like I Do”.
Shortly after marrying, Jim and Kim packed up their run-down Ford with their modest belongings and traveled across country to sunny California. Kim marveled at the warm winters and the plentiful fresh fruits and vegetables (especially avocados!) and she would become a lifelong lover of gardening.
Kim continued with her nursing career in California, working in Labor & Delivery at University California, Irvine and finding a lifelong passion in caring for newborns and mothers. She trained as a midwife and believed deeply in her mission of helping mothers achieve natural childbirth, opening a home birth practice in Santa Ana and delivering hundreds of babies throughout Orange County.
Kim had four babies of her own, all girls….Jennifer was born in 1980, Jamie was born in 1982, Susan in 1985, and Christine in 1988. Kim was a natural mother who deeply loved each of her daughters. She was the type of mother who always seemed to have a baby on one hip while happily cooking and talking to the others in the kitchen. Her children and assorted neighbors and friends would gather at the house with an “open door policy”, and she always welcomed everyone for swim parties, slumber parties, and trips to the stable to visit ‘the horse’.
Kim taught her daughters through actions, and it was evident that her family was most important. She lovingly cared for her mother through breast cancer surgery and treatment. She hosted every holiday at her home with warmth and a casual hospitality. She danced joyfully in her slippers at her daughter Susan’s backyard wedding, she welcomed her son-in-laws Brian, Gary, and Daniel into the family with open arms, and she rejoiced in her youngest daughter Christy’s recent college graduation.
Kim wasn’t afraid to make her opinions known and get involved in causes she believed in. In 1996 she campaigned for, and won, a seat on the Fullerton School Board. She also was involved with the Orange County Republican Party and enjoyed lively debates about both local and national politics.
As her children grew older and more independent, Kim returned to her love of nursing. She completed her Masters in Nursing at CSUF in 2004. She excelled in her program and was the founding President the CSUF Nursing Honor Society. In 2007 she traveled to Morocco with fellow nurses to help train maternity nurses. For the past several years, Kim worked in the St. Joseph Mother-Baby Assessment Center. She loved her work and it was a great source of joy and pride for her.
Kim’s expertise of all things baby-related became very useful in 2010, when her granddaughters were born. Eva (daughter of Jamie and Brian) and Juliet (daughter of Jennifer and Gary) were born just 3 weeks apart, and Kim flew between Honolulu and Seattle to make sure she was present for both births. She taught her daughters how to be mothers, helping them through labor and gently showing them how to nurse their newborns. Kim delighted in her granddaughters and we are blessed in having her as a model of what a mother should be.
Kim was the center and soul of our family and our grief at her passing feels endlessly deep. Our solace is in knowing that she had an unwavering faithfulness in God’s promise, and that she is resting in the arms of her Creator. We love you, Kim- beloved wife, mom, daughter, sister, and friend.
February 27, 1955 - July 31, 2011
I miss you, mom.
(originally posted 8.07.11)