This past month, Bishop lost one of our most inspiring locals. Jill Kinmont Boothe, at the age of 75, died of complications after a surgery. As a young girl, Kinmont Boothe was destined to become a world-class ski racer, but a crash during a race in Utah left her paralyzed from the shoulders down. She spent the rest of her life in a wheelchair.
But her life did not end there. The same spirit that drove her on the ski hill served her well during her recovery. Despite several more devastating losses–the deaths of three close friends–Boothe created a life for herself. She became a remedial reading teacher, first in Southern California and then later here in Bishop. She also became a passionate painter, rendering the landscapes of our area onto canvas.
Husband John Boothe was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying, “I think the thing that impressed me most the first time I met her was that after a few minutes you forgot all about her being in a wheelchair. She obviously isn’t preoccupied by it and pretty soon you’re not either.” (See Dave McCoy’s photo tribute to his friend Jill Kilmont Boothe. http://www.davemccoyphoto.com/247-a-tribute-to-jill-kinmont-boothe/)
Kinmont Boothe is deeply missed in our community by those who knew her and also by those who only knew of her. Her tenacious spirit was captured in the book Other Side of the Mountain by E. G. Valens, and is a reminder to us all that we can do more than we think we can. In honor of Kinmont Boothe, we have on display in the story an original 1955 Sports Illustrated with her lovely cover shot, the week before her accident, along with a read-to-death and discarded copy of The Other Side of the Mountain Part 2 from the Bishop Elementary Library. Inside the front cover, in a wobbly childish print, is written “She is great”. Documentation of yet another admirer, another young person she touched and inspired.
If you’ve missed reading it, we have a number of copies of Other Side of the Mountain available for purchase and always try to have them available. Boothe’s ability to inspire us will continue thanks to this biography and the many lives she’s touched.
Overcoming challenges is often the theme of biographies and memoirs. Whether you are needing courage, solace, or a good dose of gratitude for all you haven’t had to go through, pick up a copy of the following books from our Biography and Memoir Sections:
*Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
This coming-of-age memoir reveals the fierce spirit of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, one of the foremost champions in the fight for rights of Muslim women. Raised in a strict Muslim family, she withstood civil war, female circumcision, and beatings. She sought asylum in the Netherlands and continues to be a controversial yet inspiring political figure.
*Blindsided by Richard M. Cohen
Cohen was blindsided at the age of twenty-five by a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. He would later endure two bouts of colon cancer. His memoir is the tale of living with illness and still managing to be a husband and father, and find enough hope to celebrate life.
*Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza
There are some books you read that you never forget. This is the case with Ilibagiza’s tale of the genocide that ripped apart her country of Rwanda. Ilibagiza’s family was brutally murdered, but she was miraculously spared and hid for ninety-one days with seven other women in a small bathroom. Unbelievably, she emerged stronger in her faith in God and her believe in the power of unconditional love.
*A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar
John Nash was a mathematical genius who at age thirty descended into mental illness. With the help of a his wife and the loyalty of the math community, he emerged later to win a Nobel Prize. An inspiring and triumphant look at a life affected by mental illness.
Please ask one of our staff for assistance if you need help finding any of the above mentioned titles.