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Dr. James Dillon Kemp, Lexington, KY (1923-2015)

He was one of Adair County's most distinuished native sones. He was the youngest of ten children born to the late George Talbott and Mattie Whitlock Kemp. He graduated valedictorian of his class at Columbia High School in 1942. He served in the Armed Forces from 1943 to 1945 and was a navigator in the U.S., Air Corps in Italy. In 1948, he received a B.S. degree from the University of Kentucky, graduating with high distinction. In 1949, he received his M.S. degree in Animal Husbandry. He completed his Ph.D. degree at the University of Illinois in 1952, and joined the faculty of the University of Kentucky Department of Animal Husbandry (Animal Science). He spent a year in New Zealand on a Fulbright Fellowship in 1964, was an AID advisor to the Northeast Agricultural Center in Thailand in 1974, and in 1985 served as an advisor to the Department of Animal Production, University of Bari, Italy. He retired from the University of Kentucky in 1989.
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James D. (Jim) Kemp, husband of Helen Walker Kemp, died Friday, February 27, 2015. Visitation will be Monday, March 2, 2015 from 9:30amCT/10:30amET until 12pmET at First United Methodist Church, 200 W High Street, Lexington. Funeral Service will follow at 11amCT/12pmET. Interment will be at Lexington Cemetery. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions are suggested to First United Methodist Church, Lexington Lions Club Foundation, or University of Kentucky James D. Kemp Scholarship Fund.


He was born in Adair County, KY, on February 6, 1923. He was the youngest of 10 children born to the late George Talbott and Mattie Whitlock Kemp. He died Friday, February 27, 2015, at the age of 92 years, 21 days.

He graduated valedictorian of his class at Columbia High School in 1942. He served in the Armed Forces from 1943 to 1945 and was a navigator in the U.S., Air Corps in Italy. In 1948, he received a B.S. degree from the University of Kentucky, graduating with high distinction. In 1949, he received his M.S. degree in Animal Husbandry. He completed his Ph.D. degree at the University of Illinois in 1952, and joined the faculty of the University of Kentucky Department of Animal Husbandry (Animal Science). He spent a year in New Zealand on a Fulbright Fellowship in 1964, was an AID advisor to the Northeast Agricultural Center in Thailand in 1974, and in 1985 served as an advisor to the Department of Animal Production, University of Bari, Italy. He retired from the University of Kentucky in 1989.

Dr. Kemp was an excellent teacher of meat science, a prolific and competent researcher, and a recognized campus and national leader. His efforts to develop a nationally recognized Food Science Section at the University of Kentucky are noteworthy; particularly since the faculty grew from one to six full-time members under his leadership. He was co-author of one textbook and author of more than one hundred articles in research publications. After his retirement he wrote the History of the Department of Animal Sciences. Among his major university activities and honors were Professor of Animal Sciences; Coordinator of Food Science Program; President of Gamma Sigma Delta; elected faculty member UK Board of Trustees; Meat Science Editor, Journal of Animal Science; Chair, Bluegrass Section Institute of Food Technologists; Thomas Poe Cooper Award for Research in College of Agriculture; President, American Meat Science Association; Signal Service Award, American Meat Science Association; Member Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST); Chair, Senate Council, UK; R.C. Pollock Award, American Meat Science Association; Member State Board of Agriculture; UK Fellow; Member Scovell Society.

Among his community and church activities that he enjoyed are: Central KY Radio Eye Board of Directors, many hours reading to the blind on CKRE, Member of Board of High Street Day Care Center when it first started, member of First United Methodist choir for 40 years, Chairman of Administrative Board for two terms, President of Methodist Men, Sunday School Superintendent, Adult Sunday School Teacher for many years, member of many church committees where often served as chair. He was a member of the Lexington Lions Club, where he was a Melvin Jones Fellow, Life Patron, and receiver of Hall of Fame Award.

Along with his wife of 67 years, he is survived by the following:
  • His daughter: Bonnie Kemp (R.W.) Collins, Paris, KY

  • A daughter-in-law: Barbara Abbott Kemp

  • Four granddaughters: Katherine Collins (Brian) Neal, Winston-Salem, NC, Jennifer Kemp (Bill) Longworth, Lexington, KY; Cindy Kemp (Cason Nelson), Louisville, KY; and Emily Kemp, Lexington, KY

  • Three great-granddaughters: Jill, Rebekah, and Neleh Longworth

  • One great-grandson: Jack Walker Neal

  • And d a number of nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his son, James W. Kemp.


This story was posted on 2015-03-01 16:15:52
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