PORTLAND — Kimberly D. Mathews, 66, of Pownal, passed away suddenly Friday, Dec. 8, at Maine Medical Center. He was born Sept. 26, 1951, to Floyd “Matt” and Margaret (Lane) Mathews in Farmington. As Kim grew up, his family lived in various Maine and Pennsylvania towns, finally settling on Mt. Desert Island for his high school years. Kim graduated from Mt. Desert Island High School in 1969 and went on to attend Bates College in Lewiston. In 1973, he graduated from Bates with a B.A. in English, then continued to take courses in order to attain his Maine teacher certification. He completed his certification and student teaching by the spring of 1975.

In August 1975, Kim’s life would change forever when he dived into a lake and broke his neck. His spinal cord injury paralyzed him from the chest down, resulting in the quadriplegia that he lived with for the remainder of his life. Following his accident, he went to Craig Hospital in Denver, Colo., for rehabilitation. It was a struggle to relearn and perform all daily activities, but he did not quit. Kim was determined not to let his disability interfere with living an active, productive life. Within a year of his injury, he was hired to teach school in the Bangor area. After teaching for a couple of years, he worked to develop Alpha One, an organization that advocates for disabled individuals in Maine. In the early 1980s, he decided to return to teaching and was hired at Gray-New Gloucester High School. He taught English there until his retirement in 2005.

Kim thoroughly enjoyed following the New England sports teams, especially the Red Sox. He was a caring, loyal and dedicated friend and mentor to many. He inspired a countless number of students who almost always described him as their favorite teacher. Kim enjoyed traveling to the Caribbean and took several trips to Jamaica and Aruba with his brother, Kent. Despite his injury, he was extremely independent for most of his life. In his own words to the students at G-NG High School, “My hope is that you will remember me not because I use a wheelchair, but because I have taught you the value of hard work and commitment. When adversity strikes in your lives, persevere.”

Kim was dearly loved and will be greatly missed by his friends and family. Kim’s older brother, Kent, passed away in March of this year. Kim is survived by his devoted niece and favorite nephew-in-law, Elisabeth and Jonathan Munsen and their children, Shiloh and Emma; and his sister-in-law, Kathy Mathews, all of Pownal; aunt and uncle, Joan and James Mathews of Chandler, Ariz.; and several cousins.

Kimberly D. Mathews

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