Kim Lee Duckett was born to Nadine Carlson and James Duckett in Fort Wayne, Indiana on March 4 1954. Kim has told me, he had a rough childhood.
He and his older brother (I don’t know his name) were sent to a mental institution after his mom died. He was abused there and later released to his dad and the new Mrs. Duckett. Kim said they did not get along and that became his first experience with homelessness. There’s a gap here. I assume it was when he was incarcerated,
Kim’s adult life was even harder. He had no formal education, he had a substance abuse problem and had a criminal background but what Kim had was a Big Heart! Kim was kind and he cared about people.
I met Kim in 1999 at the Vincent de Paul Center where I was the supervisor of their Outreach Program. This was a program that served the homeless population and underprivileged households. Kim wandered into my office one day and he never left. He became my most dedicated and faithful volunteer. I would see Kim put an extra pieces of meat in peoples grocery bags or an extra pair of gloves or socks in peoples backpacks because it just too cold outside or it wasn’t enough food in that bag. That’s just who Kim was; he was always looking out for everybody else, even me. He brought me coffee every morning to my desk, coffee he would make for everybody that entered the Outreach Department daily.
Kim was homeless for many years during our friendship but he never complained. In 2005 a custodial position became available at my church-home. I made the recommendation and The Pine Avenue Church accepted him as our custodian. That responsibility came with an apartment. This to my knowledge was Kim’s first real home.
Kim later that year accepted God into his life and was baptized October 2 2005. Kim finally had a home and a church family. He would say, “Thank you Lord for such a Good Life.” He was so happy.
Kim was a person who appreciated family. I am sure it was because his immediate family was so dysfunctional. So he adopted families to call his own. He would call the Brewster family his mom and dad, Dakota his brother, The Harper Family his people too for he went to their family reunions often, and my family; The Howards as the ones that saved his life. Kim just wanted to be loved!
Yes Kim loved people. He would dress in full costume as Peter Rabbit on Easter Sunday to entertain our children. Kim loved cooking and enjoyed a good meal. He would often say I cooked this with love. He appreciated a good book, loved plants and he loved his cat Mimi and his dog Coco. He had a laugh that was truly hard to imitate and if you heard it you would never forget it.
There are no family members to mourn for Kim but there are numerous friends: The staff at St Vincent de Paul Center, Liz Clark, Dakota Brewster, James D Harper and Family, Tonya Baker, Marcella Johnson and Family, Nathaniel and Denise Howard and their family, along with his church family; Pine Avenue United Presbyterian Church under the Pastoral Leadership of Rev. Dr. Alvin Bridges.
Kim was a warrior and he fought for his life. He was hospitalized for many months going from hospital to hospital. He had two major surgeries including a leg amputation. Unfortunately his body never recovered. Kim lost the battle and departed this world on Saturday October 24 2020. He will be missed.
Rest in Peace my blue eyed soul brother! See you in Heaven.
Memorial donations in Kim’s name may be made tot he Pine Avenue Church, 1015 N Pine Avenue, Chicago, IL 60651.
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