Monday March 23, 2009

A Gentle Giant

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 24, at the Immaculate Conception Chapel on campus for Charles Kimble, a longtime University of Dayton professor of psychology and prolific researcher.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 24, at the Immaculate Conception Chapel on campus for Charles Kimble, a longtime University of Dayton professor of psychology and prolific researcher.

Kimble, 65, died March 19 after a short illness. He taught and conducted research in such areas as self-handicapping, defensible space and non-verbal communication at the University of Dayton for 35 years. He may be best known for interpreting the body language of politicians, particularly in debates.

In the fall, Kimble gave Barack Obama an edge over John McCain after reviewing their mannerisms and other non-verbal cues. He also analyzed debates between Al Gore and George Bush and Bob Dole and Bill Clinton. After Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1993, he told USA Today that the Clintons' body language during the inaugural parade "communicates more of an egalitarian relationship than we usually see in world leaders and their spouses."

Kimble made his greatest contribution as a teacher and researcher.

"As a person, he was a gentle giant," said David Biers, chair of the psychology department. "His greatest impact on both the undergraduate and graduate levels was the way he stimulated research. Several of his students went on to get their Ph.D.s."

The University of Dayton's psychology department has instituted a new research award in Kimble's name. The Charles E. Kimble Award for Outstanding Research in Psychology will be awarded to a graduating senior who demonstrates excellence in undergraduate research, according to Biers.

"That's the best tribute we can give him," he said.

Kimble directed the University's Social Science Research Center from 1992-1995. He co-authored the textbook, Social Psychology of the Americas. In 1992, he received the University of Dayton's Sigma Xi Research Award for research and scholarship. Recent research focused on self-handicapping -- creating a handicap for yourself, then creating excuses when you fail.

A native of Uvalde, Texas, Kimble worked on political campaigns and coached youth sports in the Dayton area. He was preceded in death by his parents Paul and Gussie Kimble and his brother, Ken Kimble. He is survived by his wife, Marty (Mescher); two daughters, Emily and Lauren Kimble; two sons, Dan and Andrew Kimble; his father-in-law, George Mescher; three brothers, Ralph (Bertha) Kimble, Bill Kimble, Roy (Cheryl) Kimble; numerous nieces, nephews, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.

The family will receive friends from 4 to 8 p.m. today (Monday, March 23) at Westbrock Funeral Home, 1712 Wayne Ave. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the University of Dayton General Scholarship Fund, 300 College Park, Dayton, OH 45469-2961 or to the Marianist charity, Partnering with the Poor in Rural Mexico (4425 West Pine Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63108- 2301).