Funeral held for Fresno community leader Les Kimber

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A man who dedicated his life to civil rights and serving the Fresno community has now been laid to rest. (KFSN)

A man who dedicated his life to civil rights and serving the Fresno community has now been laid to rest. Hundreds of people came together on Saturday for Les Kimber's funeral, and even President Barack Obama had a message for his family.

The tears at Les Kimber's funeral were balanced by laughter as family and friends celebrated a remarkable life inside Saint Rest Baptist Church.

"While we didn't always agree, you always knew where you stood with Les Kimber," said Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno.

Costa read a letter from President Obama expressing condolences for Kimber's family and appreciation for his impact on society.

"He was a leader for civil rights in our community, and he lived his life with a purpose, and I conveyed that message to the White House, and they thought it was fitting and appropriate, as the President has said many times, we stand on the shoulders of many others who have gone before us," said Costa.

Kimber served two terms as a Fresno City Councilman in the 1980s and founded the California Advocate newspaper. He was involved with many different causes, even speaking out in 2013 against a plan to privatize residential garbage collection.

"You can't balance the budget by dismantling city departments," Kimber told Action News back in 2013.

Kimber also helped organize the Martin Luther Jing Jr. March in Downtown Fresno, which will take place on Monday. Loved ones say it's fitting to say goodbye on a weekend when civil rights take center stage.

Several local dignitaries also spoke during and after the service about the legacy Kimber leaves behind.

"Really I stand on his shoulders and in his shadow, and he was a mentor and advisor to me on so many issues," said Fresno City Council President Oliver Baines.

"I think probably what stands out the most is his children and grandchildren and the interactions I had with him, and seeing how he's really affected them and the way they live their lives, and I know his legacy will continue so it was an honor to be here and to help celebrate him," said Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin.

Les Kimber died last Saturday at the age of 80. He leaves behind his wife, four children and four grandchildren.

Related Topics:
politicsfuneralobituarycivil rightsFresno City CouncilfresnoFresno - Southwest
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