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ROBERT DALE KEMP, JR.
Born: July 24, 1940
Robert D. Kemp, Jr., was born in South Bend, Indiana, son of Robert Dale Kemp and Ruth Margaret Lemons Kemp. He grew up in Grosse Pointe, Michigan and prepared for Yale at Middlesex School, Concord, Massachusetts.
Bob was a resident of Calhoun where he was captain of the golf team. He also played on the baseball and basketball teams for Calhoun. Bob majored in History. He was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon and of the Dramat and active in the 1959 Charities Drive. He roomed with Tom Luckey, Chris Meyer and the late Andy Goodyear. Tom and Chris contributed to this essay.
After Yale Bob attended Harvard Business School where he earned his MBA in 1964. He returned to Michigan, settling in Bloomfield Hills. He first worked for Ford and then Chrysler in financial positions. In 1968 he founded Wilson, Kemp and Associates, an investment management firm, in Detroit with his childhood friend Tom Wilson. Bob continued active in his firm which now has offices in Florida as well as Michigan until his death.
Bob was very active in his community. He served as a Trustee of Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Michigan for 7 years and the Tuberculosis Society, Michigan Chapter. He was a former president of the Harvard Business School Club of South East Michigan and a member of the Yondotega Club of Detroit, the Bloomfield Hills Country Club and the Lost Tree Village in North Palm Beach, Florida.
Bob pursued his love of golf not only for his own enjoyment but also for the benefit of others. He established "The Green Ace", an annual golf tournament at the Bloomfield Hills Country Club to raise money for college scholarships. Since 1998 the scholarship fund has raised over $1 million and has enabled 74 young men and women who had worked as caddies at the club to attend colleges across the country.
Bob married the former Stephanie Lee Bennetts in 1979. Together they raised 4 children. In addition to golf and a love of West Highland Terriers, Bob enjoyed travel and he and Stephanie frequently visited London which Stephanie said he described as "the most civilized place in the world." For many years he and Stephanie maintained a home in North Palm Beach in addition to their home in Bloomfield Hills.
"Nothing was more important to Bob," his obituary in the Naples (Florida) Daily News observed, "than his family and friends. His laugh was infectious and his interest in other people and their stories was infinite. His kindness, humor, warmth, intellect and sincerity truly made him one of a kind. He was the one his friends fought over to sit with at a dinner party and the one his kids contended over at the breakfast table. Life for Bob Kemp was 'good stuff.'"
Chris Meyer continued to have regular, almost weekly, business and personal contact with Bob over the years. He remembers their last golf outing - in Las Vegas in November 2007 before Bob's illness - where they were joined by classmates Bruce Babcock, John Murphy and Breaux Castleman. "Bob was," Chris recalled, "the life of the party, at the shows and on the links where no one's golf scores embarrassed anyone else." "He was a really wonderful guy," Chris concluded, "I never had a closer friend."
Tom Luckey agreed. "Bob was one of the most incredibly fun and amusing people I ever knew. He was totally legendary."
Surviving Bob are his 4 children: 3 daughters, Tracy Kemp Hedstrom (and husband Tim) of Winnetka, Illinois; Stephanie Kemp Bluming (and husband Adam) of Los Angeles; Virginia Kemp Biondi (and husband Mike, a radiologist who is a Lieutenant Commander serving in the Navy) of Kensington, Maryland; and son Kord Kutchins (and wife Carol) of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. He had 9 grandchildren, Madeleine, Jack and Will Hedstrom; Olivia and Frances Bluming; Dawson and Elsie Biondi; and Bennett and Alexandra Kutchins. His daughter Virginia Biondi is currently expecting his 10th grandchild. He was also survived his brothers Greg Kemp of Naples, Florida and M. Scott Kemp of Phoenix, Arizona. Bob was briefly survived by his mother Ruth Margaret Lemons Kemp, who subsequently passed away about one month after his death.
Bob was stricken suddenly with liver cancer and died on September 3, 2008, surrounded by his family. Internment was private. In lieu of flowers, the family requested that donations be made to Bob's caddie fund, The Bloomfield Hills Country Club Caddie Scholarship Foundation, 350 West Long Lake Road, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 48304.