Along the way, Kimball organized the Utah Seagull Forum as a counterbalance to the conservative Utah Eagle Forum.
"It was in his mind against anybody in the establishment that had that overbearing persona" that shut average people out, said colleague and friend Paulina Flint. "It was an equalizer."
Gayle Ruzicka, longtime leader of the Utah Eagle Forum, said she chuckled at Kimball's organization of the alternative group, taking it in the spirit in which he meant it.
"When we'd see each other, we'd laugh about it," Ruzicka said. "He wasn't being unkind or mean."
Ruzicka, however, said former Attorney General Jan Graham, a Democrat like Kimball, picked up the Seagull Forum nickname and thereafter always applied it to the Eagle Forum with, perhaps, less light-hearted intent.
Kimball spent most of his countless hours in Capitol hallways lobbying on behalf of White City water and land-use issues. But over the years, he also paid attention to and encouraged attempts at legislative ethics reform.
It is a critical issue, with much work left to be done, said Flint.
"If Utahns think Chicago politics is only for Illinois, they have another thing coming."
Kimball took other citizen lobbyists under his wing and, Flint said, "coached us on how to be heard and to be effective. … It's difficult for the average person to know how to address their public officials."
A native of Missoula, Mont., Kimball grew up in Evanston, Wyo., but later moved to the Salt Lake City area, where he graduated from Judge Memorial High School and attended the University of Utah.
He served in the U.S. Army 19th Special Forces and remained active for many years in veterans groups and causes.
Kimball is survived by his wife, Sue, three children and five grandchildren.
Friends and family held a vigil Thursday night and a funeral Mass is scheduled at 11 a.m. Friday at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 9757 S. 1700 East, in Sandy.
A lifelong Democrat, Kimball's obituary ended with: "In lieu of flowers, please take a kid fishing and consider voting for a Democrat."