Jemmie Reid Kemp, loving wife, mother and grandmother, peacefully passed away at the age of 92 on May 25, 2021. Jemmie is preceded in death by her husband of 67 years, Grover C. Kemp, Jr., her parents, Tom Reid and Hazel Nichols Reid, her sisters, Jane McConnell, Joel Turner and Anne Coffey, and her daughter-in-law René Kemp.
Jemmie was born in Marshall, Texas, on December 3, 1928, and soon thereafter the family moved to Belton, Texas.After her mother’s death when Jemmie was seven, she lived on a farm outside of Belton with her father and siblings until her father’s death when she was 15 years old. After her father’s death, she lived with relatives in Dallas for a short time before moving to The Presbyterian Children’s Home in Itasca, Texas. While there, she had a special connection with her house mother, Honey, who often said, “you should have been mine.” She often spoke with great fondness of Honey and the Presbyterian Home.
After graduating from Itasca High School in 1947, Jemmie went on to further her education at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. While attending school there, she was an active member and vice president of the Kappa Gamma Chi sorority. She was also president of the Austin College freshman group for girls called the Kangaroo Court. Pictures of this time of her life reflect that she was having a fun college experience! In the spring of 1948, she had her first date with the love of her life, Grover Kemp, attending a show on campus featuring the opera singer Helen Traubel. (She had met Grover previously while on a date in Itasca. Her date that night would not introduce Jemmie to Grover, so Grover wrote his name on a napkin and gave it to her!) The two were married on August 15, 1951, and just a year later her work really began with the birth of the first of her five sons. After living in Ft. Worth for several years, and briefly in California and New Mexico, Jemmie and Grover moved their family to a farm in Brandon, Texas, eight miles outside of Hillsboro. From 1973 to 1980, Jemmie taught reading in Hillsboro ISD.
Jemmie loved spending time with her family. She was blessed with ten grandchildren, nine of whom were girls! She and Grover attended almost every event the grandchildren participated in, and never missed a birthday celebration! Many hours were spent with the family playing endless amounts of games and eating endless amounts of food. Her grandchildren will always remember her mini corncakes with boysenberry syrup, decorated Christmas sugar cookies and her cherry pie (it was the best cherry pie).
Jemmie and Grover enjoyed traveling after retirement, and lived by her Aunt Mildred’s advice to, “go while you can,” a bit of wisdom that she frequently shared with the next generation. Jemmie was passionate about genealogy and had a love for painting. The fruits of these labors are treasures her family will hold dear for years to come.
Jemmie was sweet, loving and resilient. There was very rarely a cross word or a complaint from her and she will be remembered with love and many happy memories.
She is survived by her five sons, Galen Kemp and wife Cindy, Stephen Kemp, Gary Kemp and wife Merry, Phillip Kemp and wife Debbi, and Greg Kemp and wife Holly. She is also survived by her ten grandchildren, two great grandchildren and three step great grandchildren, along with her brother, Tom Reid, Jr.
A reception celebrating her life will be held on June 27, 2021, from 2-4 pm in the chapel at The Presbyterian Children’s Home at 156 P R 443, Itasca, Texas.
Please consider a donation to the Jemmie Reid Kemp Endowment Fund benefiting The Presbyterian Children’s Home. Donations can be mailed to Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services at P.O. Box 140888, Austin, Texas 78714-9981, or online at giving.pchas.org.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Jemmie Garth (Reid) Kemp, please visit our floral store.