Jill Kinmont Boothe
Jill Kinmont Boothe, born Feb. 16, 1936 in North Hollywood, to Bill Kinmont and June Haines Kinmont passed away Feb. 9, 2012 at the age of 75 at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center in Carson City, Nev
She and her family moved to Bishop in 1947 when her family started the Rocking K guest ranch west of Bishop. She began skiing in high school and it was not long before she was winning many ski races. She graduated from Bishop High School in 1953 and became a serious competitor in the national ski scene. In 1955 she won both junior and senior women’s national championships in giant slalom. She was a shoo-in for the Olympics and while trying out for the Olympics she was injured in a race in Alta, Utah in 1956, which left her a quadriplegic.
Following a year in rehab she attended UCLA graduating with a degree in German. She wanted to become a teacher but UCLA would not admit her into the teachers college there because they did not think she was employable because of her disability.
She and her family moved to Seattle, Wash. where she attained her teaching credential and taught remedial reading at Mercer Island School in Washington until her father’s death, when she and her mother moved back to Los Angeles.
Her desire was to teach in inner city schools but no one would hire her with her disability because, as they put it, she could not walk up and down stairs and stand all day. Ironically the highest paid school district in California, Beverly Hills, hired her with no problem and she taught there for over eight years before moving back to Bishop in 1975 and began teaching in the Elementary School District.
She and John Boothe were married in 1976 and she taught remedial reading and special education until her retirement in 1996. To this day she would still hear from students that she taught years ago thanking her for the special attention she gave to all of her students and shared their successes with her. One student from Beverly Hills wrote and told her that he had been put in her class to catch up and he just wanted her to know that he “caught up” and had just passed the Bar Exam. After retirement she taught for several years at the Jill Kinmont Boothe School, named after her, which is a continuation school for students having problems dealing with the regular school system.
Two movies were made – “The Other Side Of The Mountain” and “The Other Side Of The Mountain II’” – about her life in 1976 and 1977. Using some of the proceeds from the movies she established the Jill Kinmont Indian Education Fund, which has given more than 100 scholarships to local Native American students over the years. In just this past year the fund awarded $15,000 to 13 deserving students.
Jill was an accomplished watercolor artist, painting with a special brace to hold her brush and pen for her ink drawings. She and her friend Carol Taylor held annual art shows in John and Jill’s home for the past 13 years. In the last few years they were joined by watercolorist Mickey Short and photographer Tina Slee, the last show being this last April.
Jill was preceded in death by her mother and father, and is survived by husband, John Boothe; adopted daughter, Morningstar Wagoner and her husband, James; and grandchildren, Wyatt and Lily Wagoner; brothers, Bob Kinmont and his wife, Sue, and Jerry Kinmont and special friend, Sylvia Oates; brother-in-law, Roy Boothe and his wife, Beverly; sisters-in-law, Janet and her husband, Gary “Gert” Dougherty, and Linda and her husband, Mike Weier; and numerous nieces and nephews, cousins and many friends.
Jill will always be remembered for her positive upbeat attitude and never letting anything get the best of her. She was a dedicated teacher, friend, wife, aunt, sister, daughter and grandmother.
Donations in Jill’s memory can be made to the Jill Kinmont Indian Education Fund, 310 Sunland Dr., Bishop, CA 93514
Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012 at the East Line Street Cemetery. Rev. Caddy Jackson will officiate. A reception will follow the service at the Home Economics Building at the Tri-County Fairgrounds.