United Way marketing director dies following traffic crash

United Way Director of Communications and Marketing Kim Faenza, left, is shown with President & CEO Debbie Mason in this file photo. Faenza has died following a traffic crash.

Published: Friday, November 15, 2013 at 2:28 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 15, 2013 at 2:28 p.m.

United Way of North Central Florida Marketing Director Kimberly Leahy Faenza died Thursday morning of injuries suffered last week in a car accident.

United Way President Debbie Mason said Faenza, 41, was an inspiration to everyone who knew her and was a perfect fit for the position of marketing and communications director.

“She was the ideal employee you’d love to replicate. If you had a workforce of people like Kim, there is nothing you could not accomplish,” Mason said. “She was bright, team-oriented, she never gave up on a goal. She was collaborative, funny. Truly, everybody who came in contact with her — fellow employees, donors, board members — enjoyed their experience with Kim.”

The accident occurred at about 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 5 on Northwest 13th Street just north of 16th Avenue, according to the Gainesville Police Department.

Faenza was northbound in a 2012 Honda Odyssey when it was rear-ended by an Infiniti G35 driven by Raymond Scott Bolton.

Faenza’s minivan then rear-ended a Ford Mustang driven by Florian Markus Schneider. The Mustang rear-ended a Toyota Sienna driven by Lori Layne Russ-Eisenschenk.

Faenza’s car then left the road and struck a pole. Bolton was cited for careless driving and the accident investigation remains ongoing.

Faenza had been hospitalized at UF Health Shands Hospital since the accident and died Thursday morning.

Mason said Faenza worked at United Way for about 15 months. A short biography of Faenza at the Florida Public Relations Association website states Faenza had a bachelor’s degree in special education and taught middle school for two years. She earned a master’s degree in tourism research from the University of Florida.

Prior to joining the United Way, Faenza worked in communications at Shands.

Faenza was married and had one son. Mason said funeral arrangements have not yet been set.

“We getting a lot of calls about what the family wants to do in her memory, and they haven’t determined that yet,” Mason said. “They haven’t set the viewing and funeral. It will be late next week at the earliest.”

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