Our dad was a simple man. He enjoyed simple things like spending time with family, puttering in his workshop building bird houses and bringing a single red rose to Marjorie, his bride, whom he adored.
Dad never knew a stranger. Many times on family outings we would wonder where he had gone only to find him chatting with someone whom he had just met, always wanting to know something about the person, where they were from, what they did, how they happened to be here, etc...
Dad's curiosity about the world never ceased. He would always read the daily newspaper and sometimes 2 newspapers, National Geographic, Golf Digest and more. On any given day, he could recite nearly any detail of the stories he had read that day.
Paul found his love of fishing at an early age. He would tell us stories of his days as a youth, growing up in Emporia, Kansas, exploring with his friends from the neighborhood. They would be gone for morning till dark, often following the Katy RR Line for miles around Emporia, throwing their lines into one of the rivers in the area.
Paul's love of carpentry and building birdhouses began early in life as he helped his father, Henry, who was a carpenter by trade. Following high school and before entering the service, Paul traveled with his dad and others in their efforts to assist in the war effort. The experience he spoke of most often was the time he spent in Leadville, CO., helping his father and others build Camp Hale, where the 10th Mountain Division trained.
In 1943, Paul joined the Army Air Corps (later to become the Air Force) for pilot training, taking him to training bases in Leavenworth, Kansas, Miami Beach, Alabama and finally to Georgia. The war ended about the same time as Paul’s pilot training.
After his military service ended, Paul returned to his home town of Emporia, Kansas, where he met his bride, Marjorie Hall. They were married on June 26, 1946, the day Dad referred to as the “best day of his life”.
Paul and Marjorie's early years together were filled with raising three children, working on the Santa Fe Railroad and continuing to serve his country as a member of one of the newly formed American Legion Drum and Bugle Corps. Paul was a snare drummer in the corps and, along with Marjorie, enjoyed trips around the country, performing with the corps. Their most memorable trip was the time they marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC.
Dad loved his family more than anything and always put them first. Regardless of his hectic work schedule, Dad would always find time for his children, whether it be a game of baseball in the back yard, a picnic in the Flint Hills of Kansas, a train trip to see the Kansas City Royals or family vacations to Colorado.
Following retirement from the Santa Fe Railroad, Paul and Marjorie relocated to his beloved Colorado. They moved to Grand Junction in 1989. Paul loved living under the “blue skies” of Western Colorado and was so grateful that this dream of Colorado living finally came true. Most of all, Paul was grateful for the 73 years he and Marjorie spent together, for his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Paul was preceded in death by his father and mother, Henry and Clara Kempker; sisters, Marie, Dorothy and Peggy; and brother, John. Paul is survived by his wife, Marjorie; his children, Sandra Schifferns (Mark) of Ft. Collins; Janet Terry of Grand Junction; and Gary Kempker (Carol) of Houston, TX; his grandchildren, Stephanie Dodder, Serena Dodder, Spencer Terry and Paige Kempker; and his great grandchildren, Kody and Dylan Gruska.
A memorial service will be held on October 18, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church,
790 26 1/2 Road, Grand Junction, Colorado.
To send flowers to Paul's family, please visit our floral section.