Irvington grad killed in Iraqi roadside attack


RONALD AND JACQUIE DUNN hold photos of their stepson and son, Army Sgt. Timothy Kiser, who was killed in Iraq last week. Kiser, 37, grew up in Fremont and graduated from Irvington High School in 1986. (BEA AHBECK - Staff)

Growing up in Fremont, Tim Kiser did what most boys his age did.

Each school day, he and his older brother, James, would make the short journey from their Irvington home to Chadbourne Elementary. Spring Saturdays meant Little League games and putting on the red Ra-Mar Roofing Cardinals' uniform.

And his mother often would take the boy with curly brown hair to Central Park, where the two would feed ducks at Lake Elizabeth and cool off in the swim lagoon.

Those are just some of the memories that come back to Kiser's mother, Jacquie Dunn, 56, as she gazes at a digital slide show on her computer in the tidy Milpitas mobile home.

She had been compiling the family's photo history and was preparing to mail Kiser the segment on his childhood.

Instead, the emotionally moving montage set to some of his favorite Christian music will play during his funeral service next week.

Army Sgt. Timothy Craig Kiser of Redding, who graduated from Irvington High School in 1986, was killed Thursday on a road near Kirkuk, Iraq, after a roadside bomb exploded near his Humvee, a Pentagon spokesman said. He was 37.

Kiser, who arrived in Iraq shortly after New Year's Day, had befriended Iraqi children and had hoped to build homes for the families who had been displaced by war, his mother said.

"I'm proud of my son and what he did," said Dunn, who spent 27 years at Lockheed, in a department that built submarine missiles. "He did die for this country, and I'm sure in some small way he made a difference."

Army officials are releasing few details about the incident, but family members say they were told that all four soldiers in the vehicle were killed.  

Kiser's body was flown Sunday to Dover (Delaware) Air Force Base and will be brought to Travis Air Force Base near Fairfield by Friday. Services will be held Monday.

Born in Cincinnati on Feb. 5, 1968, Kiser moved with his mother and his brother to Fremont's Irvington neighborhood to a house on Denise Street just off Driscoll Road when he was a year old. He never knew his real father, but that void was filled at the age of 6 when Kiser's mother married Ronald Dunn.

Whether it was swimming in the backyard pool or going fishing with his grandfather at San Francisco's Lake Merced, Kiser was drawn to the water from an early age, his mother said.

Soon after his high school graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves without his parents' permission, she said. After serving three years, he worked on and off as a trucker and dabbled in real estate.

Despite appeals from his family, Kiser re-enlisted in the Army last year, hoping to land a job as a medic. He had received orders to attend medical school in Texas in November, but days before his departure, he was reassigned for deployment to Iraq.

Kiser was assigned to the Army National Guard's 340th Forward Support Battalion, 40th Infantry Division, based in Red Bluff, and entered Iraq on Jan. 2.

As a specialist, he served as an explosives engineer, and was promoted to sergeant just last week.

His ex-wife said Kiser was intelligent and witty, but could put people at ease with his sense of humor.

"He was a jokester and a prankster," said Jennifer Krock, who lives with their two teenage sons in Mount Shasta.

That's something Kiser's two sons, Austin, 14, and Jordan, 13, will miss. They have been struggling   with their father's death, Krock said steering through the last few days of grief on "autopilot."

"It's been hard for the boys," Krock said. "There will be an emptiness forever now. There will be nothing to replace that."

Even as missiles whistled overhead in the night, Kiser found time to call home, and e-mail messages and digital photos. His last correspondence to Dunn was a simple Mother's Day card.

"I'm sure this is the 1st mother's day card I have sent you in years," Kiser wrote in a American Greetings card that arrived two weeks before the holiday. "It takes going to war and seeing people hurt or worse to get me to do something I should have done a long time ago."

Kiser also is survived by his wife, Rhonda Kiser of Redding; brother, James Kiser of Manteca; stepson, Kyle Thompson, and stepdaughter, Danyelle Thompson, both of Redding;   and half-sister Shannon Huhn of Milford, Ohio; and adopted sister, Shawn Dunn of San Jose.


Redding man killed in Iraqi bomb blast

12:07 a.m. May 2, 2005

SACRAMENTO Army Sgt. Timothy Craig Kiser has become the latest California casualty of the war in Iraq.

He was killed Thursday on a road near Kirkuk, Iraq, when a bomb buried beneath the roadway exploded under his Humvee, according to his brother James.

Kiser's wife, Rhonda, described her husband as an optimist with a sense of humor.

"Kids always loved him because it was like having a great big friend," she said. "He loved to go down to the Delta and go tubing behind a boat," she said.

Kizer enjoyed joking with the Iraqi children, and loved to give them treats, she said.

"He forever had me sending bags of candy for the kids," she said.

Jennifer Krock, Kiser's former wife and mother of their teenage sons Austin and Jordan, said Kiser kept in close touch with the boys, who are now struggling with news of his death.

Kiser was born in Cincinnati, and his family moved to California in 1969. He grew up in Fremont.

After high school Kiser served in the Army for three years. He then worked as a a truck driver and a real estate agent. He re-enlisted in the Army hoping to be a medic and train to become a physician's assistant, his wife said.

"He believed in what he was doing," said stepson Kyle Thompson of Redding.

Kiser reached Iraq on Jan. 2. He served as an explosives engineer and was promoted to sergeant in Charlie Company 116 last week, his wife said.

Memorial plans are pending.