Kimberly "Kim" Maassen of Santa Rosa, a longtime advocate for the developmentally disabled and mentally ill, died April 24. He was 53.

Born April 10, 1957, Maassen was the second of three boys born to Shirley and Ed Maassen in New York.

After graduating from Southern Cayuga High School, Maassen joined the U.S. Navy. His first job was cleaning the interiors of massive oil tanks, said his wife, Marion Maassen.

"He was one of the guys they lowered into the tank to clean the oil," she said. He immediately requested to be re-assigned to chef.

"He said, &‘I'd rather get up at four in the morning and crack 2,000 eggs than be lowered into an oil tank,'" she said.

After three years in the Navy, Maassen enrolled at Lockhaven State College on the G.I. Bill. He eventually earned his master's degree in social work at the University of Georgia.

When he returned home to New York, he met Marion Holley. The couple was together nearly 10 years before they were married in 1993.

Maassen's father was his best man and his two brothers served as ushers.

"Family was incredibly important to him," Marion Maassen said. "His dad was really a very good friend."

The Maassens moved to Arizona where Kim Maassen worked at an outpatient program for people struggling with mental health issues.

The coupled moved to Santa Rosa when Marion got a job with Hewlett-Packard.

Maassen began working at North Bay Regional Center, assisting clients throughout Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties. He connected clients with services for 17 years.

He was active in his two kids' lives, coaching all manner of sports teams from basketball to soccer.

"He absolutely loved that. He never missed a game," Marion Maassen said.

An avid fisherman, Maassen was also a longtime pool player and the quintessential host.

"He was very much a caretaker," his wife said. "We would have parties and he would always make sure everyone was taken care of."

In recent months, Maassen had struggled with anxiety and depression as a number of close friends passed away, according to Marion Maassen. He took his own life.

In addition to his wife, Maassen is survived by his daughter, Holley and son Bradley, both of Santa Rosa; his parents Shirley and Ed Maassen of Aurora, N.Y.; and his brothers Jamie Maassen and Ed Maassen II, both of Aurora, N.Y.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Daniels Chapel of the Roses, 1225 Sonoma Ave., Santa Rosa. A private interment will be held at St. Patrick's Cemetery in Aurora, N.Y.

Donations in Maassen's name can be made to the nonprofit North Bay Developmental Disabilities Services c/o Kim Maassen, P.O. Box 3360, Napa, CA, 94558.

— Kerry Benefield