Herbert E. Kidwell, 73, of Rantoul, formerly of Danville, passed away at 5:23 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013, at Carle Foundation Hospital after a hard-fought battle with a cancerous tumor.
He was born March 10, 1939, to Richard Clyde Kidwell and Ruth Eleanor Kidwell.
Sometime during his early youth, his father left him and his older brother, Ron, to be raised by their mother.
Through his youth struggles he became a determined and competitive young man, having earned many awards at Danville High School as both a successful diver and pole vaulter. He tells of training for diving in the pool in the basement of DHS, being careful to avoid hitting the low ceiling above their heads. And yes, the little pool was at one time in the basement of Danville High. He was offered a diving scholarship to attend college but declined it in order to enter the United States Navy.
His biggest success was when he met, wooed and married Sandra S. Sprouls, of Georgetown. They began their adventurous life together as he joined the Navy and served for 20 years. Herb was both humorous and had a swashbuckling pirate-like way of living.
He started his family with Sandra, having three children, Michelle Rae (Timothy) Trimble, Michael Jae (Kathy) Kidwell and Eric Eugene Kidwell. He loved his family, and he loved the Navy.
Serving our country required him to be away from his family for tours of duty. The many ports of call he would visit throughout the world were a part of the joy he found for his adventurous life. He enjoyed opportunities for high cliff diving and even told a story of climbing the towers on his ship to dive into the ocean. He had to pay the penalty with his captain, but to him it was worth it to be able to experience life like the swashbuckling ship rat of a pirate that he was at heart.
While the Navy life took its toll on his family, and he and Sandra would eventually divorce, he never stopped loving them.
Sometime after his retiring from the Navy, he was rejoined with his family. Making up for lost time, he counted himself fortunate to see his family grow to nine grandkids and four great-grandkids. His grandchildren include: Tara (Dustin) Tarkington, Austin Trimble, Eric (Kara) Kidwell, Nathan (Martina) Kidwell, Jason, Joshua, Devon, Matthew and Kaley Kidwell. All, in their own way, carry his legacy of quick wit and getting people to smile or laugh through humor.
Herb led a life of challenges and adversity, but in the end, he knew that his family loved him, and he had his own special relationship with God. For all of us who knew him, there is no doubt that when God opened his arms to him, he did not hesitate to dive right in with a huge smile on his face.
Herb was preceded by his mother, Ruth Kidwell; and his brother, Ronald Kidwell.
A service to celebrate the life of Herbert Kidwell will begin at 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, at the Veterans Affairs Protestant Chapel, 1900 E. Main St., with Pastor Dennis Daniels officiating. Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. prior to the service, and Herb will be laid to rest at the Danville National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to Herb may be made to the American Legion Post 210 Military Rites Detail Unit, 201 Prospect Place, Danville, IL 61832.