Kevin Kimbrough was many things: a son, a big brother, a UF fraternity brother, a video-game enthusiast.
But he was not meant to be a dancer.
His tall and lanky posture made dancing look awkward and clumsy. He had no curves, said a friend of his, Sophia Marchetti.
Still, he didn’t let his composure stop him. He embraced it and danced for sick kids who couldn’t each year.
Kimbrough was born 24 years ago on Nov. 4 in Memphis, Tennessee. His death by suicide Dec. 15 shocked friends who knew him as the person who wanted everyone around him to be happy.
Kimbrough was involved in his fraternity, Delta Tau Delta, and other student leadership organizations during his years at UF. The Miracle Network Dance Marathon, a fundraiser for the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, was his favorite event.
Marchetti, a 22-year-old UF business administration fifth year, met Kimbrough four years ago at the 26.2-hour-long charity event. Since they met, it was obvious he loved to make everyone laugh, she said.
A short blue wig, body glitter and a beaming smile was her first impression of the quirky Kimbrough. The more-than-6-foot-tall, brown-haired kid was dressed up as “Ana Conda,” one of his many alter-egos.
Marchetti laughed and said she was surprised at how well his drag queen makeup matched his pale skin tone.
The blue-wigged “Ana Conda” was just one of Kimbrough’s oddly humorous personas.
Students across campus may have encountered him when he brought a fake handwritten resume scribbled on a trifold board to the UF Career Showcase. His character, “Harold Holder,” walked around lugging the poster board with a fake white cigarette snug in between his lips.
He said he wanted to make the nervous students and exhausted employers smile.
“He was always happy and smiling. Whenever he stepped into a room, he lit it up and was immediately noticed,” Marchetti said. “Kevin was funky and hilarious in the most unique way.”
Drew Nelson, a 20-year-old UF information systems junior, met Kimbrough in 2016 in Delta Tau Delta.
Nelson, a freshman at the time, admired how involved the soon-to-be-senior Kimbrough was, he said. He was seen as the fraternity’s ambassador.
“Delt is unique and fun. Everyone has their own adjectives and is different,” Nelson said. “Kevin was the face of that.”
Ashley Kimbrough, 22, and her brother grew up in Arkansas for nine years and moved to Florida with their parents Kathleen and Kevin Sr. when she was 9 and he was 10. The two were always getting into “random shenanigans,” she said.
Whether they danced around the house to the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang theme song with plastic hockey sticks in hand or snuck into each other’s rooms after bedtime to hang out, they could be found doing something together.
When Kimbrough moved to Gainesville for college, their relationship never changed. Their hour-long phone calls often turned into deep conversations with each other, she said.
“He would let you forget about any worries or fears that you had about something and just have a good time,” she said.
The original small church picked for Kimbrough’s service had to be changed to a larger venue because hundreds of people marked they would attend only an hour after the Facebook event was posted, Ashley Kimbrough said.
Hunter Hedman, a 23-year-old UF alumnus, attended the Dec. 21 service and said it ended with a video of Kimbrough dancing. Everyone left teary-eyed. But more importantly, they left smiling.
That’s the way Kimbrough would have wanted it, he said.
A Dance Marathon donation page was created in his honor with the goal of raising $1,000. As of Saturday, the donations totaled $8,078.
Kimbrough last served as a Dance Marathon Morale captain, meaning he committed to raising a minimum of $1,250 for the organization. Once each captain raised the money, he or she was rewarded with a blue hospital band to represent the fight against childhood illness.
Each captain wrote a message on the band and chained them together so that the students could read them for inspiration throughout the event.
Among the bands is Kimbrough’s: “Dance. Smile. Be weird. Together.”
Kimbrough will be remembered as many things, especially a dancer.
Contact Angela DiMichele at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at @angdimi.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. There is also a 24/7 chat with a counselor at http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.
The UF Counseling and Wellness Center hotline: 352-392-1575
The Alachua County Crisis Center:352-264-6789
Kevin Kimbrough. Courtesy to The Alligator.