Harold W. Kemper was born December 07, 1937 in St. David, IL. He was the oldest of nine children. Harold was born to the union of the late Eldon L. and Dorothy Gibson Kemper. On January 28, 1956, Harold married the love of his life, Edna Baker in Liberty, IN.
After school, Harold moved to California and worked for General Motors. He learned to roof houses and later went on to learn carpentry and build many two-story homes in Huber Heights, OH where he worked for more than six years.
In 1959, Harold & wife, Edna, moved back to Hyden where Harold would eventually become a pillar in the community which he come to love. Here, he became instrumental in many community actions to better the county. He helped establish and found the first Leslie County Fire Department and held the position of the first fire chief in Leslie County. He then helped organize the first county operated ambulance service. He later served as Leslie County Emergency Management Director and served as Leslie County Judge Executive for two months.
After working a short time in the coal mines, Harold learned T.V. repair. Harold started a T.V. Repair shop. He later added appliances, hardware, and eventually, furniture. This would be the foundation of what would later go on to become a successful family multigenerational business in Southeastern Kentucky. 1963, Harold founded Kemper Furniture, T.V. and Appliance. He worked until his retirement in 1986 when he proudly turned it over to his children and went to Florida.
Although Harold retired from the furniture store, his work didn’t stop. His hard work ethic was evident in the community and his friends and neighbors can attest to this fact. He worked hard, building, repairing, and taking care of his equipment and rental properties. He really enjoyed his two favorite toys, his dump truck and his backhoe. If there was something to repair, Harold would be the first to step up to get the problem solved. In the late fall, Harold & Edna would head out for Florida for the winter, but when spring time came, Harold was ready to get back to Hyden to do the things he loved.
Other than working, Harold enjoyed fishing in Florida, gardening, spending time with family and helping others. He also took pride in his fried fish and peanut butter pie, which was a family favorite!
Above all things, Harold was devout man of God who dedicated this life to the work and service of the Lord. The most near and dear thing to Harold was when he proudly and humbly became a chaplain for the A.R.H. hospitals and being a dedicated Gideon. He took great pride in getting to visit with the sick, to offer prayer and most importantly, salvation. He never second guessed a visit, no matter what the circumstances surrounding him. Along with his ministry also came his love for the Gideons. He spoke at many churches and community events, handing out Bibles and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Harold was a charter member of the Hyden Church of God, he was also a member of his beloved church in Florida, St. Cloud Church of God. Other churches he was affiliated with over the years include, Jackson Church of God, Stinnett Gap Church of God and the Couch's Fork Church of God.
He was a Christian, a loving & devoted husband, beloved father, grandfather, brother and friend.
Harold’s faith became sight, on Friday, March 10, 2023. Harold was 85 years old.
In addition to his parents, Harold was preceded in death by his beloved stepfather, Raymond Foster, his brothers, Leon, Lloyd and Floyd Kemper; Butch and Raymond Foster. Also, one sister, Linda Lepine and best friend, Rufus Fugate.
Harold leaves behind, his loving & devoted wife of 67 years, Edna Baker Kemper of Hyden, KY and to their union, five cherished children, Harold W. Kemper, Jr. (Debra) of London, KY, Rhonda Kemper Watson (Dana) of Hyden, KY, Greg Kemper (Lori) of Booneville, KY, Harry Kemper (Pam) of Jackson, KY and Johnny Kemper (Beth) of Hazard, KY. Two brothers, Bill Kemper (Judy) of Canton, IL and Randy Foster (Vickie) of Stinnett, KY. Twelve cherished grandchildren, eighteen cherished great-grandchildren and a host of other relatives and friends also survive his passing.
The funeral service for Mr. Harold W. Kemper will be held at 2p.m. – Tuesday, March 14, 2023 in the chapel of Wolfe & Sons Funeral Home with Pastor Logan Wayne Bowling, Rev. Billy Joe Lewis and Bro. Jason Roberts officiating.
Entombment will follow the service at the Highlands Cemetery at Camp Creek, Hyden, KY with Kenny Kemper, Blake Kemper, Thomas Kemper, Justin Kemper, Michael Kemper, Keston Kemper, Hagen Jones and Cody Wooton serving as pallbearers.
The Kemper family will receive friends for visitation from 6p.m. – 9p.m. – Monday evening at the funeral home chapel.
Arrangements are being handled carefully under the direction of Wolfe & Sons Funeral Home.
**The family would like to offer their heartfelt appreciation to the staff of the Mary Breckinridge - A.R.H. Hospital for their care and concern for Harold and his family, during his final days.
**Expressions of sympathy may take place in form of donations to the Gideons International, in memory of Harold W. Kemper: