Kimberly (Kimmie) Jones, social media and outreach coordinator for Tennessee Disability Pathfinder, died Tuesday, April 4, after a brief illness.
“Our hearts are filled with sadness,” said Megan Hart, director of Pathfinder. “Kimmie was our friend and colleague. Not only was she the face and talent behind our social media and newsletter outreach, but she was also a bright light who brought everyone so much joy through her bubbly personality and great humor. We will miss her terribly.”
Tennessee Disability Pathfinder provides free information, resources, support, and referrals to Tennesseans with disabilities and their families. It is a program of the VKC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), with support from the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities, and the Tennessee Departments of Health, and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
Joining Pathfinder in May 2014, Jones accomplished outstanding work building the number of Pathfinder’s social media followers.
As editor and writer of Pathfinder’s Compass newsletter, Jones created thematic issues that were both informative and educational, increasing awareness not only of services and resources but also of perspectives of self-advocates like herself and family members of children and adults with disabilities. Under her leadership, readership of Compass increased significantly.
As Pathfinder redesigned its website in 2015, Jones made excellent contributions to branding, navigation, and content.
Last month, Jones wrote an outstanding blog available on the TennesseeWorks website, “How employment can change the life of someone with a disability (and everyone involved).” She wrote, “By being motivated and holding my own in the workforce, I feel those around me have gained a better and more realistic impression of disability in general. I am proud to say employment has made me an equal.”
“Kimmie was a pleasure to work with,” said Wanda Willis, executive director of the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities. “She was bright, creative, and dedicated to her work, always willing to assist others. She elevated Pathfinder’s visibility and impact, reaching new audiences through social media and storytelling. Her unique voice and contributions will be missed by the Council and the broader Tennessee disability community.”
“I loved working with Kimmie when I interned at Tennessee Disability Pathfinder,” said Caitlin Bernstein. “She always had a smile on her face whenever I saw her. She was always amazing at her work.”
“Kimmie was a light in the dark,” said Sarah Elliott Carpenter, outreach coordinator at Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD). “We will keep her spirit alive by advocating for those who need it, helping those who ask for it, and lightening each other’s load with a smile.”
Jones was a Nashville native. She was born with congenital muscular dystrophy and used a wheelchair for mobility. She is survived by her sister Kelly Jones Gentry and brother Michael Jones. She was a beloved aunt to her niece Elena Jones and nephews Oliver and Holden Gentry.
“Kimmie was a talented writer and communicator, a powerful disability advocate, and educator,” said Elise McMillan, VKC UCEDD co-director, director of VKC Community Engagement and Public Policy, and senior lecturer in Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences. “She was a friend and a valued part of our Pathfinder family and our larger Kennedy Center family.”
Jan Rosemergy is VKC deputy director and director of Communications and Dissemination.