All of us lost a wonderful, loyal friend and devoted wife, mother and grandmother when Kim Nalen passed away in her home due primarily to the relentless progression of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) on Sunday evening, Dec. 29, just one day before celebrating her 60th wedding anniversary with her devoted husband, Craig (Skip) Nalen, and family.
Kim was no newcomer to Sun Valley. Her father, Sewall Andrews, was a friend of Averell Harriman and an early visitor and enthusiastic skier during the 1940s. Sewall, hoping in vain for a son, finally decided to concentrate his mentoring urges on developing his daughter’s athletic skills. As a pre-teenager, Kim often accompanied her father on the two-day train trip from their home in Minneapolis to Sun Valley in those early days.
Skiing was only one of Kim’s early interests. She actively pursued and became very competent at golf, tennis, fly fishing, shooting and just about every outdoor competitive activity she was exposed to. When not on the playing fields, she became a very accomplished bridge player.
Kim attended Northrop-Blake School in Minneapolis and graduated from the Ethel Walker School in Connecticut. She went on to Vassar College, during which time she met her future husband. She and Skip were married in 1953 and raised three children. The oldest, Kim Jr., currently lives in Ketchum; her youngest son, Peter, and his three children are located in Princeton, N.J. Her oldest son, David, tragically died here in 1995, leaving behind his wife, Elizabeth (now Elizabeth Bunce) and their two children, Austin and Christopher Nalen.
Kim’s married life was punctuated by many moves and many homes, beginning initially by following her naval officer husband to numerous destinations. After Navy life, there was a move to Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif., then to Cincinnati, next to San Francisco, then to Sydney, Australia. Skip’s business then took them to Minneapolis, where they settled in Wayzata, Kim’s hometown. Eventually there followed another move to Boca Raton, Fla., and then Washington, D.C., where they became part of the Reagan administration in a position that required almost constant international travel. Kim greeted each move with ease and grace and was responsible for building their numerous lasting friendships around the world
Kim was initially involved with numerous organizations, including Colonial Dames, Junior League, several Garden Clubs, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Women’s Board of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. With the exception of one of her final involvements (as chair of one of the committees for the Washington inauguration of George H. W. Bush in 1989), Kim lost interest in these extracurricular activities and devoted full time to her family and participating in the outdoor sports she loved so much.
In recent times, despite her medical challenges, Kim retained her passion for life and being with family and friends in their home in Gulf Stream, Fla., and here in their home in Sun Valley. Kim’s infectious enthusiasm along with her steadfast loyalty to her many friends and her devotion to her husband, children and grandchildren will be greatly missed and remembered with love forever.
A service of remembrance is planned for Feb. 22 in Gulf Stream, Fla., and an informal gathering of remembrance is anticipated here in the Wood River Valley sometime this summer.
In lieu of flowers, the family would like to suggest support for the David Nalen Foundation, established in 1995 to provide financial help to families of cancer patients, foster environmental programs and provide academic scholarships for needy students. This foundation has successfully kept alive the spirit of David and now will also do so for his mother, Kim. Donations may be sent to the David Nalen Foundation, Box 6419, Ketchum, ID 83340
Friends may leave a remembrance or share a story at www.woodriverchapel.com.