Bette Dorf Kimmel

She is and will be deeply missed.

Bette Dorf Kimmel, 95, passed away February 5, 2024, beloved mother of Anitra Kimmel Hayes of Vashon and Kevin Barry Hayes of Chicago. Also survived by a grandson of Seattle, brother 97-year-old Alan Kimmel of Massachusetts, niece Nancy Kesler Marsala, nephews Jamie Kimmel, Neal Kesler, Robert Kimmel, and their families.

Bette was preceded in death by her mother Belle Dorf Kimmel born in Galicia of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, father Robert Kimmel, sister Judith Kimmel Kesler, sister-in law Keke Kimmel, and nephew Jody Kimmel.

Bette could be found swimming at the Athletic Club several times a week and at Café Luna enjoying the company of friends and others who joined in a rousing game of Rummi Kub.

Bette graduated from the University of Illinois Chicago with a BA and Masters in Archaeology. She taught for many years helping to expand the multi-aged open style classroom at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools as well as teaching in the Chicago Public Schools.

Bette read voraciously, wrote poetry and stories, illustrated with her quirky drawings and calligraphy. She was an actor for most of her life with amateur venues, such as The Last Stage theater in Hyde Park she and friends owned, and professional stages outside of Chicago, as well as a short time here on Vashon. One endeavor she was passionate about was poetry and acting workshops she created for, and with, the mentally ill members of the “Bridge” in Chicago.

Bette moved from Hyde Park in Chicago to Vashon in 1997 and built the house and home she had dreamt of for many years, and was so happy to live 27 years here amongst trees, the water and quiet on Vashon Island.

A small family memorial is planned, to be held in Massachusetts.

Remembrances may made to VIPP in honor of Bette and her much loved VIPP kitties, Uncle Vanya and Ari Pushkin, who also preceded her in death.

She is and will be deeply missed.