‘He is a true patriarch’: Remembering the life of a pillar in the Leslie County community

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Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 3:58 PM EDT
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LESLIE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Harold Kemper was known as a pillar in the Leslie County community.

Kemper died on Friday at the age of 85.

“He was just an amazing man. He’s a hard worker and loved to serve the community,” said his son Harry Kemper.

Harold served his community in numerous ways. He even established the first Leslie County Fire Department.

“He had a heart for the fire department. A true heart,” said John Newell a firefighter, Leslie County Magistrate and friend.

He served as fire chief, Director of the Leslie County Emergency Management and interim Judge Executive. He also eventually founded a furniture store many know as Kemper Furniture. His son, Harold, expanded the business to add Kemper Home Furnishings stores in London and Somerset.

“He just taught us children to have a strong work ethic. When we worked with him, it just seemed like each one of us had a different talent and a different role,” said Harry Kemper.

Harold was married to his wife, Edna for 67 years. They raised five children and a host of grandkids and great grandkids.

“With my mom it was a match made in heaven, love at first site, one true love type stuff,” said Harry.

The pair loved spending their winters in Florida, but they always made their way back to Kentucky. Harold always thought of his friends when he got home.

“He’d always come in and bring some fish and fry it up for us, [he] let us have some fresh fish from Florida. Occasionally, he would make a peanut butter pie and it was one of his dishes that he made. So, we enjoyed that. It was just a great time, and I was so glad that I got to be acquainted with Harold. It’s been a blessing,” said his friend Roger Wolfe.

People who knew him say it’s his love for the Lord that stood out the most.

“His love for God was very evident in his life. The most important thing in his life,” said Newell.

“He was a Gideon. He served as a chaplain in Leslie County,” added Wolfe.

They said he left a legacy in all that he did.

“He is a true patriarch because he started with nothing, no guidance. No fault to his own, and he made a wonderful life for himself and his family,” said Harry Kemper.

The family is welcoming friends this evening at Wolfe and Sons Funeral Home in Leslie County until 9 p.m. on Monday and the funeral service will be at the funeral home at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.