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Pauline Kimber, co-founder and California Advocate editor, dead at 81

Councilman Tom MacMichael, Mayor Dale Doig, Councilman Les Kimber and his wife, Pauline, take part in march to William Saroyan Theatre.
Councilman Tom MacMichael, Mayor Dale Doig, Councilman Les Kimber and his wife, Pauline, take part in march to William Saroyan Theatre. Fresno Bee file photo

Pauline Kimber, who co-founded Fresno’s African American newspaper with her husband, Les Kimber, died Thursday. She was 81. Her death comes almost exactly a year after that of her husband, who died on Jan. 10, 2015.

Mrs. Kimber was also an author and civil rights activist who will be remembered for her dedicated passion for family, equality and for being a tenacious pillar for Fresno and the city’s African American community.

Born on June 23, 1934, in Ozone, Ark., Pauline eventually went to Washington, D.C., where she met and married Les in 1957 while she was a student at Howard University and he was at George Washington University.

The couple moved to Fresno in 1965, where they would eventually start the California Advocate Newspaper. She served as the Advocate’s editor for 36 years and was a board member of Kimber Kimber & Associates, a nationwide advertising agency.

Mrs. Kimber was a co-recipient of the American Civil Liberties Union’s third ACLU Civil Liberties Award with Mr. Kimber in 1975. She served on the California Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission in 1985.

Mrs. Kimber received numerous other awards and helped to curtail illicit activities on G Street in downtown Fresno by leading a march and rally she titled “Do Your Children Know Where You Are?”

The Kimbers also hosted the “Drum Major for Justice Awards,” an annual event that honors activists, citizens and celebrities who continue to fight for human rights and equality.

She was also a founding board member of the West Fresno Christian Academy and served on the local YMCA board of directors.

Mrs. Kimber was a member of Saint Rest Baptist Church, where she served on the board of education and taught Bible classes for more than 45 years. She ministered to hundreds of women through her writings, Bible studies and numerous speaking engagements throughout California.

She authored the book, “Every Wise Woman Buildeth Her House,” in 2012.

Paul Schlesinger: 559-441-6659, @PaulSch_Photog

Pauline Kimber

Born: June 23, 1934

Died: Jan. 7, 2016

Occupation: Co-founder and former editor of the California Advocate Newspaper, civil rights activist, author

Survivors: Children Terri Edwards, Mark Kimber and Duane Goldberg; siblings Odell Johnson, Cleo Johnson, Frank Johnson, Jerry Johnson and Jackie Nelson; four grandchildren.

Services: A wake is set for 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 15 at Jesse E. Cooley Funeral Services, 1830 S. Fruit Ave., Fresno. Funeral services are set for 11 a.m. Jan. 16 at Saint Rest Baptist Church, 1550 E. Reverend Chester Riggins Ave., Fresno.

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