Donna Needham Kimberlin, beloved wife, mother, and Gaga, took her last breath in the early morning hours of October 4, 2020, surrounded by her family in her home in South Brunswick. She fought long and hard through her constant battles with cancer and remained so brave through the very end.
Donna was born in Camp Kilmer, New Jersey on June 4, 1954 and grew up in Menlo Park Terrace. She graduated from Woodbridge High School in 1972 and met her future husband shortly thereafter. Though they were opposites, it was clearly fate that brought them together and over time they learned to appreciate the differences between them. They married on August 27, 1977 and lived like any normal couple, just trying to build their way through life. The first thing they truly had in common was their desire to grow their own family tree, which they began with the birth of their first daughter, Jaime, followed by sisters Kristin and Jillian, and her greatest joys, granddaughters Jessica and Julia.
Donna spent the early part of her daughters’ lives driving to and from school, dance classes, and rehearsals, hosting their friends in her home, and engaging in every activity they chose to be part of. This led her to join the staff of Kids on Stage and the Board of Directors at the Villagers Theatre, where she volunteered her time and passion to the arts community. As her children grew older, she continued her support of other young artists through production of Youth Programs like TeensVill, Miniature Musical Makers, and the Villagers Summer Theatre Arts Program. The Villagers became a second home to her and the people she met along the way became her extended family.
Donna enjoyed entertaining in her home (aptly named Kimberland), working beside her daughters and granddaughters at the theatre, sleeping through Hallmark movies beside her Christmas tree, helping to raise her granddaughters and watching them grow, going to get ice cream with her family, leaping and “Donna Dance”-ing, playing games like Bananagrams and Scrabble, holiday traditions, serving her famous Mac & Cheese to her guests, softball and bowling, going to see James Taylor with her Johnny Boy, Thomas Kinkade paintings, all things Christmas and snowmen, and family trips to Disney, Long Beach Island, and the Outer Banks. Most of all, she simply enjoyed the company of her loved ones, whether she was gathered for a celebration with extended family or relaxing in the home that she and John built.
Donna was kind and selfless - she always put the needs and desires of others before her own, even in her final days. She was nurturing and compassionate - she was not just a mother to her daughters, but a mother to all. She was comical - if even she didn't mean to be, she always gave us a good laugh and put a smile on everyone's face. She was strong and determined - no matter how much pain she was in, she handled it with grace and dignity. If you look up warrior in the dictionary, you'll see her smiling face. She was giving - whether it was time, love, or an ear to listen, she was always the first person you could rely on. She was dedicated and loyal - to every person, every need, every activity, even if it wasn't her responsibility, she wouldn't acknowledge the word 'no.' She was honest – she would tell you exactly what she was thinking, whether it was something you wanted to hear or not, to ensure no words were left unsaid. She was pure and genuine – everything she did was out of the goodness of her heart. And most of all, she was loving – in cooking meals, sending texts, or giving the greatest hug, she always made her love apparent.
Donna is preceded in death by her mother, June Needham, and her second parents, John and Evelyn Kimberlin. She is survived by her loving husband, John Kimberlin, and their puppy, Penny Lane; daughters Jaime Moritz and husband Jesse Moritz, Kristin Hobkirk and husband Mike Hobkirk, and Jillian Kimberlin and partner Saqib Yasin; granddaughters Jessica Kimberlin and Julia Moritz; grandpups Jax, Sheldon, Milton, and Tiger Lily; father Floyd Needham; siblings Karen Ho and Floyd Needham; several brothers- and sisters-in-law; countless nieces and nephews; and her chosen family of misfits.
Whether you knew her as Don, DNK, Mom, Little Momma, Gaga, Aunt Donna, Auntie Don-Don, DK, Mama K, or Needham, her family invites you to celebrate her life with them:
Friday, October 9, 2020
2 PM – 4 PM or 6 PM – 8 PM
M David DeMarco Funeral Home, Inc.
205 Rhode Hall Road
Monroe Township, NJ 08831
Casual Attire Welcomed
As Donna cared so deeply for the health and safety of others, the following of current COVID-19 precautions is required. All guests must wear face coverings and remain socially distanced. The Funeral Home is prepared to monitor attendance to ensure there is adequate space for social distancing. After paying respects inside the Home, guests are welcome to continue celebrating and sharing memories of Donna outside the Home (you’re even welcome to BYOC – Bring Your Own Chair) to allow all of her loved ones to have the same opportunity.
Donna would have appreciated your support of the Villagers Theatre Youth Programs or Day by Day Hope Foundation. In lieu of flowers, donations in her name may be sent to the following: