Kymberlee Elaina Hampe was born Kim Gillis on Dec. 19, 1954 in Lafayette, LA. After high school, Kym received an Associates Degree in Nursing and worked as an LPN in labor and delivery.
In 1989 Kym moved to Salem, Oregon and completed a YWAM Crossroads DTS, after which she joined the staff of YWAM, Salem and primarily served in the kitchen. On April 29, 1992, Kym joined the YWAM Portland Team working with the homeless and doing street evangelism. In 2001 she was legally adopted by Philip and Sondra Hampe and became Kymberlee Elaina Hampe.
Kym started Love Letters, a ministry that reached out to children with life threatening diseases. She ministered to both the child and their family by sending cards, letters and gifts for birthdays and Christmas. Kym recruited others to help her, raised funds to support the outreaches and then started Love Letter groups in other states and cities. Her ministry was featured in the Dec. 1998 edition of Good Housekeeping.
Kym had a heart for the homeless and the less fortunate. She would make a big pot of soup to feed up to 200 homeless people once a week. She trained people to continue this ministry when she moved on. She then began working with at-risk youth doing horse therapy.
She loved travel, animals, crafts, cooking, and adventure. Kym loved throwing parties and providing hospitality to friends and family.
Kym passed away Dec.18, 2009 in Portland at the age of 54.
5 thoughts on “Kymberlee Elaina Hampe”
We had the privilege of knowing Kym for over 20 years. She arrived to the Salem YWAM base in 1989 and completed the CDTS that Luba and I led. From day one, we fell in love with Kym. Over the years, Kym, or Hymmie, as our son Paul called her, became part of our family. She became like a big sister to our daughter, Lana, and to our three sons, Daniel, Paul & David. Kym, out of respect and love, called me ‘principo’!
She loved to serve the less fortunate and taught our kids to do the same. She loved to cook and introduced our family to real cajun cooking; like gumbo and cajun shrimp. Kym reflected Jesus in all she did and our family was deeply affected by her life. We will miss Hymmie, but look forward to seeing her again some day…
Kimmie, you got me!My first memories of you are vivid and joyful. You gave me a star shaped pin that boldly declared, “I’m a Star!” and you assured me that out of all my pretty little friends, I was the only “star” at the party. It was my 8th birthday party, and who better to help host but my very own Himmie. The highlight of the party was our Barbie fashion show (which you MC’d). “Here comes Miss Butcher – dressed in a pink, Burburry, vintage jumper. It’s the latest in women’s fashion, and everyone must get one immediately!” And next, ladies and gentlemen, please turn you attention to Miss Iliyn – She is wearing the most beautiful white wedding dress that Prada has every designed. She is sure to “wow” Mr. Right when he sees her for the first time!
Our bond was sealed. At 8 years old, I found in you the big-sister that I had been begging mom and dad for, and I think that you saw in me and my family, the stability, love and acceptance that you had been craving your entire life. You may think that we touched you, but Kimmie, you will never know how much you impacted every single one of our lives.
Thank you for sacrificing so much of your time to invest in my family. Those are precious memories that we will cherish forever. You were around when David was born, and do you remember the time in Hawaii when we were blessed to stay in a fancy 5-star-resort, and Daniel proudly announced to all the kids in the pool, “we are staying here for 3 weeks, and my dad is a Missionary!” Bhhhaaa! We all got a good laugh at that. Remember going to the Luau and eating pig and watching the fire dancers?
You took me snorkeling, and I got sick IN THE WATER! You just hugged me and told me that no one else saw. Once you moved to Portland, we spent countless hours on your big bed watching old movies. I know that you were in pain and moving was not an option, but I was content to just sit on the bed with my big sister. I always looked forward to “Cooking with Kimmie.” I knew that we would get a fantastic Cajun meal that would make daddy sweat from head-to-toe. “OOOhhhhh, Mr. President, you can’t handle this Cajun’s cooking!” You always brought laughter. And then, when I turned 21, you took me to a movie tavern at McMinnimens and we shared a bottle of wine. You always came to every birthday party and celebration. One of my favorite pictures of you and me was taken at my parent’s 25th anniversary surprise party. A party just wasn’t the same without Kimmie.
Kimmie, I am 26 years old, and you have been part of the most formative years of my life. When I met Chris, the love of my life, he had to meet my family and Kimmie in order to “pass the test.” You loved him and therefore, he passed! You told me that his calm, loving spirit was good for a free bird like me. You told Chris to “take care of my girl,” and I assure you, he is taking care of me.
Kimmie, I could not have envisioned our wedding day without you. You were so excited for me; it was almost as if your own daughter was getting married. One of the last times that I deeply hugged you was in the bridal salon with all of my 11 bridesmaids. You instantly became friends with each and every one of my girls . . . you just had that way about you. You served us coffee and bagels and then gathered everyone around for a special gift presentation. I tore through pink wrapping paper and pulled out a square, pink box. In giddy delight I revealed a beautiful Barbie in a white wedding dress. How silly for a 26 year old to get worked up over a Barbie doll, but, you just got me. The symbolism was there, and in that moment I returned to my 8th birthday party, and you were assuring me that out of all my pretty little friends, I was the only “bride” at the party.
There is so much I want to say to you today, but you know how much I love you. In a cute and comical way, you always told me what you thought about me, “I love you once, I love you twice, I love you more that beans and rice.”
I miss you, so much. I love you more than I can express, and you will never leave my heart.
When I first met Kym, I didn’t know quite what to think. One of my first adventures with her was blackberry picking. She got stuck in the brambles and you know how you see different sides to people that you thought you would never want to see again? Well, I did that day.
I didn’t understand why she was in my life, but I knew God had said for me to be her friend. It wasn’t always easy, but is it ever? She had a difficult childhood, which left her scarred and she has had a lot to overcome, but overcome she did. She could have been bitter and angry from what she went through, but she chose not to be. She was a giver. She gave to the homeless, she gave so kids could ride horses, she gave the gift of laughter through clowning, she gave the gift of letters through Love letters, she gave to those around her of her time and constant gifts she always had to give away, she gave through her cooking.
And if you saw her studio, you knew she was an artist. She did beading, she made beautiful signs with meaningful sayings or phrases, she had pens and scissors and paper galore.
She was always one to either find a bargain or get something free whether it be your lunch, a new bag or a low fat, no foam irish cream latte with 2 slendas.
Kym and I traveled together. We went to the beach for a long weekend, to Louisiana (did you know they have drive through Daiquiri shops? Yeah, we saw one …once!!!) We also taught her sister-in-law to Dawdle while we were there, she didn’t know what it was. The south is very interesting. We went up the Vancouver BC, day trips to Mt. Hood or just for a low fat, no foam irish cream latte with two packets of splenda. And then there was the infamous MS time. For me it was the best time. I drove down and Kym came down about 3 weeks later. Kym flew down to drive home with me. We ended up staying two weeks longer than what we planned and we ended up flying back to Oregon, then I flew back to MS and was there for another 4 months and Kym came down again and boy was I glad to see her. The first thing she did was clean my car!!! It was great!! When we drove back we took almost two weeks to do it. We saw a lot of the country and never argued once. Toward the end I think we were both ready to be out of the car but we did great together.
Kym was loved and knew how to love despite everything that came against her. She loved her dog and her friends, yes, sometimes in that order and she loved her family.
So in the words of my friend Cross my heart and hope to spit, we will see each other again!!
Kym was my friend and as I sit in front of this page it is hard to think of what to write. My heart is sad right now but for the 17ish years I knew Kym, it was happy. You never knew what you would be doing or where you would be going when you were with Kym. I was able to look into the soul of a wounded person who was healing before our very eyes. And, in a sense, she grew up before us. She came to us a child and left us a woman.
Kym I love you and will miss you greatly! You were my friend.
One special thing I remember about Kym is when she and Erin came to an Eastside Foursquare staff meeting wearing candy bracelets. During the meeting they were crunching on the candy beads. Kym will sure be missed.