Our Memories of Mort
There is no way to explain the immense impact of Mr. Kimmel’s life with one person’s words. Mr. Kimmel’s accomplishments speak for themselves, leaving behind an excellent legal career and founding multiple charities to benefit the community. Mr. Kimmel had a vision to make a better tomorrow for Delaware. For those at the firm, we were Mr. Kimmel’s second family, we knew about the awards, the accomplishments, and the charities, but there was so much more to Mr. Kimmel then his amazing accolades we would rather share the stories of the man himself. Mr. Kimmel had the power to change your day, only by asking how you are doing. We wanted to share some of our favorite stories, memories, and moments to help others better understand the greatness that was Mr. Kimmel.
“In 1971 I just started law school and was still with the Delaware State Police. A friend of Mort suggested that I speak with him. Mort so graciously took the time to see me and gave me some directions. He also suggested that I clerk at the office, because of shift work, he allowed me to come in and work whenever I could. He became my preceptor when I passed the bar and told me I had a job with his firm. I told him that I still had 7 more years with the State Police. He responded, “So what, you still have a job here when you retire”. I started in 1983 and the rest is history.”
-Tom Roman, Partner
“I always remember that he basically knew everyone in Delaware. And it wasn't that he thought that made him important, but rather he would use his connections to help others. When I was starting out he would always come to me with potential cases for me to pursue and I would think to myself "I have no idea how to do that." But he pushed me to go outside of my comfort zone and has helped me grow as a lawyer. The one specific example I remember is he had me take on a medical malpractice case against Christiana Hospital where I prepared the lawsuit and got the necessary supporting opinion to file it. Once we got into litigation he had Bart Dalton oversee and handle the case and it was a great learning opportunity for me. The case settled at mediation with Judge Bifferato (another DE legend in the law field). Mr. Kimmel and I attended the mediation and I learned a lot from Judge Bifferato as well. This was one of my first mediations (if not my first).”
-Sean Gambogi, Associate Attorney
“I never realized until after Mr. Kimmel passed how much I interacted with him on a day-to-day basis and how much I enjoyed that contact. I am a big baseball fan (especially the Phillies) and Mr. Kimmel and I would discuss the games almost every day I saw him. Many times in the past couple of weeks, I've thought to myself "I must ask Mr. Kimmel what he thinks about that". And then I remember.”
-Stephenie King, Paralegal
“Every day, Mr. Kimmel would make his rounds in the office. He made sure to stop and say hello to each and every person. If he didn't see you on the first trip around the office, he'd come back to see you later in the day. He made sure to interact with everyone, every day, on a personal level. This office was clearly his second home, and he fostered and grew the "family" culture here at KCRPO.”
-Heather Long, Partner
“I started with the firm in June and was immediately thrown into the production of the Blue/Gold Basketball Games by August. He popped into my office one day and said “We have a meeting at Noon in Milford tomorrow, dress nice. We will leave the office around 11, you’re driving”. I went home that night and cleaned my car spotless, both inside and out. However, tomorrow came and he handed me the keys to his car and told me to drive. I drive slow, very slow, not under speed limit but I do not tend to go over. With the added pressure of not only having our founding partner in the passenger seat but driving his vehicle, needless to say I was tentative with my hands at 10 and 2. After a few minutes of talking we were on route 1 south when Mr. Kimmel says “Did I tell you I know all of the police who patrol Rt.1?” my response, “No, I don’t think you mentioned that”. He responded with, “Well, I do. Speed it up to about 80 and let’s cruise, we’re going to be late.”
-Jordan Hutchinson, Marketing
“I just always looked forward to him saying "good morning" to me each day he was in. When I first started in 2016, I was so excited that THE Mr. Kimmel already knew my name. And when I saw him last year at our football party on the back patio at work, he was playing ping-pong while on his cell phone and still managed to beat Kwana. He was a legend.”
-Amy Handling, Legal Assistant
“Every single day he was in the office he came to my desk and said good morning and asked how my day was going. When he would come in the kitchen while I was taking my lunch break, he would always ask about my family and ask if I was happy working here. Which, of course, the answer was always YES!!!”
- Kristina Stuckert, Legal Assistant
“He had handed me a card one time and said “Merry Christmas, make sure you get the office a dozen donuts, the rest is for you.” I opened the card to find $60; a dozen donuts cost $9.89. It made my week! Ever since that interaction I have picked up donuts for the office, whether he was in or not.”
-Morgan Civita, File Room
“I remember the day Mr. Kimmel took me home from the firm for the first time. As we drove down 4th Street in Wilmington I felt like I was the president, waving to everyone and Mr. Kimmel was smiling ear to ear. Whether it was sports or life, Mr. Kimmel always pushed me to be better. I always told him that he reminds me of one of the great coaches, where they didn’t have to do much but they always brought the best out of you. I loved Mr. Kimmel, my grandma always use to jokingly say Mr. Kimmel was my long lost father and that’s just how I felt about him. He was truly a great man by any measure. Mr. Kimmel always knew how to treat people and make people feel special. He was and always will be the M.V.P of people.”
- Kwana Chase, File Clerk
“I loved every day he came in and spoke to me with a smile on his face. If you were not at your desk he would be sure to come back around and bless you with his presence. That is a memory I will never forget. Knowing that some of the ladies in the office work late, he got us mace for Christmas. I went into his office to thank him for the gift, knowing my husband he said, “You’ll never need that around your husband he is one biggg man”. Always could make me smile.”
-Angela Burris, Legal Assistant
“After several years of working together, Mr. Kimmel was not only my boss but a friend that I could turn to for advice when needed and, believe it or not, a shoulder to cry on on occasion. He would always offer his help before I even asked no matter what the situation, whether it was something as simple as driving me home when my car broke down or using his resources to help with a more serious issue.
We all know how Mr. Kimmel loves his sports and he was always very supportive of my kid’s activities from horse shows and girl scouts to the football games we got to enjoy on several occasions when he came to watch my son play. I will truly miss our daily conversation just chatting to catch up on the kids, family, politics and life in general – he loved to hear all the gossip! Mr. Kimmel also liked participating in all staff appreciation events from baseball games to Cinco de Mayo parties. He enjoyed socializing with the staff outside of the office and his only request at all meetings and events was to have pizza with broccoli on top. I think if Mrs. Kimmel would have let him he would have eaten it every day! He was always a healthy eater so I could immediately tell when he indulged in sweets, as he would be giddy on a sugar high making jokes for the rest of the day.
I remember one afternoon when we were both caught off guard. I was crouched down behind his desk fixing his computer and, he was always as quiet as a mouse, you never heard him approaching, he rounded the corner at the same time I popped up and we both scared the day lights out of each other. Had it been videotaped we probably would have won America’s Funniest Home Videos!
There is a verse called “The Dash”. The dash on our gravestone between the year we were born and the year we pass defines who we are and how we lived our lives. Mr. Kimmel’s dash represents an accomplished, prominent pillar of the community who strove to help make changes for the better at every opportunity available, as well as a man who loved and cherished his family above all else. He was a kindhearted, generous person. While we will continue in our daily routine, the office will never be the same without Mr. Kimmel and he will truly be missed by his “work family.””
-JoiAnn Marino, Business Manager/Mr.Kimmel’s
assistant, 15 years
“While still living in New York, I had realized I was going to spend the rest of my life with Karen Kimmel, but before I could do that I had to have Mort’s blessing. When Karen and I first started dating she had warned me that her parents were very formal. So, I referred to them as Mr. & Mrs. Kimmel was always tentative, respectful, and mindful while in their presence. I scheduled a time to meet Mort and Marcia at Hotel DuPont, telling Karen it was work function I hopped on a train and nervously let my mind wander, “will he say no”, “what if he has on his intimidating trench coat”. At last, lunch. I sit down, we make small talk for a few minutes, as I start on my planned way to ask him for his blessing, he interrupts and hands me a card. Envelope read “Dear Son”, inside the envelope a card, the card read “Yes”. Silence, then long embrace, he had welcomed me into his family with open arms.”
-Brian S. Legum, Associate Attorney/Son-In-Law
“Mort had represented my Dad. When I was in law school I initially wanted to go into international law and my father suggested I see Mort for some advice as to where I could apply for an internship. I scheduled the appointment. Never met the man before. I go into his office, sit down, and try to be pro-active as to what I'm looking for. I asked, "Mr. Kimmel, do you know any attorneys that practice in the field?" His answer: "No." I then asked if he knows anyone at DuPont or Hercules, or other companies that I can speak with. Answer: "No." The interview continued this way: "No." "No."... I'm starting to squirm and thinking "come on at least throw me a bone!!!" Finally, he asks me a question: "Ever think about working here?" The light bulb in my head goes off: "YES!!!!"
That was 31 years ago. Never worked at another firm. Career wise I owe everything to him, but as a person much, much more! When we circulate things around the office we put each attorney's initials on and cross off once we have read it. So with that I say, "Thanks and miss you MRK!!!”
-Bill Peltz, Partner
“I met Mort Kimmel in 1971 at the JCC. A friend of mine had encouraged me to go there because he claimed that there were a bunch of men who showed up every Thursday afternoon and played some fun but highly competitive basketball games. I went, started playing and that is how I met my future law partner. I was not a lawyer at the time but rather was working for an insurance company. As we became friends, Mort encouraged me to go to law school. He said a new law school had started up in Delaware and had night classes. He knew I needed to continue to work as I had started a family. He advised me that if I got in law school to call him and he would find me a job in the court system that would coordinate with my law school studies. When I got accepted, I did call him and he said he would get back to me soon. Within 48 hours he called back and said “You are now the Presentence Officer in the Justice of the Peace Courts for New Castle County.”
“I am?” I exclaimed. And sure enough for the next four years, Mort followed my career in law administration, calling me up and advising me when an opening was occurring and to make sure I dropped his named when I applied. I rapidly ascended in court administration until my last year in law school when I was appointed the Deputy Administrator of the Justices of the Peace Courts by Chief Justice Daniel Herrmann, who coincidentally respected Mort intensely. He had basically guided my life all through law school. After three years at the Public Defender’s Office, he called me up and said it was time to join his firm. Anyone who knows Mort know that was one of the most organized persons you would ever meet. He was constantly writing himself notes to do something or to tell someone else to do something. His desk was always immaculate by the end of the work day as he had completed all necessary tasks or delegated them to others. I told him that 7 years earlier when he had first encouraged me to go to law school, he already was planning for the expansion of his law firm. He just smiled and never denied it. I became his associate, his partner, and his dear friend. I always referred to him as my big brother. Almost a half century later I can say that no one had more of an influence on my life than Mort Kimmel.”
-Ed Carter, Partner
"My Dad was an incredible father. He was also my law partner, mentor, confidant, best friend, and my hero. When I was younger, he had me work in the file room. In law school, he hired me as a law clerk. And after graduating law school and business school, he brought me on as an associate. Yet despite always wanting to be a lawyer my entire life, my Dad never pressured me to join the firm. He wanted me to find my own path and choose my own career. But once I chose to join the firm, he wanted to instill the same values, knowledge of law, and respect for clients, opposing counsel and the Court that Ed Carter, Tom Roman, Bill Peltz, and all of the other attorneys possessed. My Dad had an open door policy, and regardless of his busy schedule, he always had time to answer questions and offer advice. He loved practicing law. He loved helping the "little guy." He loved Ed Carter and Tom Roman, who he considered his brothers. He loved the rest of the attorneys and staff as well, who he considered his second family. But most importantly, he loved his family. He always said: "Family comes first." Despite my Dad's trials, thousands of clients, community involvement, and mentoring, he never missed a single one of my sporting events growing up. He was always there for me, and I knew that I could always count on him for anything. I will miss seeing my Dad on a daily basis and talking sports. I will miss running cases past him for advice. I will miss discussing business decisions with him for the firm. I will miss discussing charitable opportunities throughout the State of Delaware with him. I will miss watching sporting events with him, and seeing him spend time with my children. My Dad will be sorely missed, but his legacy will be carried on through all of us."
-Larry Kimmel, Son/Managing Partner