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Dr. William James Kemp

Dr. William James Kemp
July 17, 1923 - September 4, 2018

Haskell’s fast drivin’ pipe smokin’ boot scootin’ dentist, Dr. William James Kemp, known as Doc, passed away at the age of 95 on September 4, 2018, at House of Hope in Wichita Falls, Texas. Services will be held at 2 pm, Saturday, September 8, at the First United Methodist Church in Haskell, Texas, with Kirk Watson officiating and Nelda Lane and Amy Medford McKnight playing organ and piano. Burial will be in Willow Cemetery under the direction of
Lunn’s Colonial Funeral Home of Wichita Falls. A visitation will be held from 1-2 p.m. Saturday, September 8, at the First United Methodist Church in Haskell.

Born July 17, 1923 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he was the eldest son of Mary Wells Kemp and John Giles Kemp. After graduating from Haskell High School in 1941, with the sly insistence of his mother Mary, he hitchhiked to Austin to work his way through pre-dental school from 1941-1943 at The University of Texas. While there, he held multiple jobs, including a night job at Camp Mabry, before enlisting in the Army Air Corp from 1942-1945 as a bombardier in training. After the war ended, he attended The University of Missouri at Kansas City Dental School via the GI Bill from 1946-1949 where later he was honored as Man of the Year in 1980.

While in Austin, he met his lifelong sweetheart Billie Jean Viereck on a blind date at the famed Texas Tavern. They married a year later then moved back to Haskell to begin a dental practice and establish their home where Doc also engaged in various civic duties, including: President of the Band Booster Club; member of the Quarter Back Club, Chamber of Commerce, Lion’s Club and the Haskell School Board as well as Post Commander of Rogers Cox Post 221. He was an active member of The United Methodist Church where he served on the Board of Stewards and Trustees. He was honored with the Silver Beaver Award for the Boy Scouts of America and served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Chisholm Trail Council of Boy Scouts.

Doc loved people and his profession. Next to his family, friends, and caretakers, his greatest love was his beloved vocation of dentistry, which he practiced for six decades. He was known for mentoring many, and as Dr. Bob Herren of Dallas commented, “He mentored so many of us and encouraged us to visit his practice and observe to learn and not let age or anything else hold us back.” During his tenure Dr. Kemp served as President of the Board of Directors for the 17th District Dental Society and as President and Secretary of the West Texas Dental Association. In 1965 he served on the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners as President and was President of The American College of Dental Examiners from 1977-1978. He was a member of OKU National Honor Society, International College of Dentists, American College of Dentists, Pierre Fauchard Academy, Royal Society of Health, and the South West Society of Prosthetics. He also served as a Texas Ranger in the dental narcotics division.

Known as “Daddy Doc” by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, he always had a corny repetitive saying to make them laugh. Nothing gave him greater joy than watching a good Western or watching others enjoy life. He was known for his love of golf and could be found after work or on weekends on the course with his fellow cohorts and celebrating afterward at the “19th hole” . He loved to socialize with his buddies at breakfast at the Haskell Sale Barn or chill in the afternoon with his friends at the local café and pharmacy. He loved to make people laugh and feel at ease, even when he was about to snag a tooth out of someone’s mouth. He was even known to pull a tooth right out of the mouth of someone sitting on the back of a pick-up truck out in the country or make emergency hospital visits to fix broken jaws for rodeo bronc riders.

Dr. Kemp was preceded in death by his parents and brothers Giles Marion Kemp and and John Waller ford Kemp. He is survived by his immediate family, including son and pediatric dentist Dr. William James Kemp Jr. and spouse Whitney Kelly of Amarillo, Texas; daughter and high school English teacher at St. John’s School Kemberly Kemp of Houston; grandson Trey Kemp and spouse Brooke and great-grandson William James Kemp IV or “Will” of Dallas; grandson Patrick Kemp and spouse Megan and great-grand children Luke, Ben, Kate and Sawyer of Wichita Falls; grandson Lawford Brossman and spouse Rachel of Long Beach, California, and granddaughter Mary Brossman of Bingen, Washington.

Pallbearers include Lawford Brossman, Mary Tympranz Brossman, John Fouts, Giles Kemp, Patrick Kemp, Trey Kemp, and Eddie Medford. Honorary Pallbearers include: David Burson, Jane English, Ralna English, Gus Estrada, Bob Hart, Dr. Bob Herren, Rene Holt, Sharon Eatherly, Joseph McCoy, Kemp Pace, Patrick Pace, Angel Pena, David Strickland, and Jackie Tomlinson.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made in the name of Dr. William J. Kemp to the First United Methodist Church in Haskell, Texas (201 N Ave F, Haskell, Texas, 79521) or to The Rinehart Foundation at UMKC School of Dentistry (650 E 25th Street, Kansas City, Mo, 64108).