Virginia Alice Kempher
Virginia Alice Kempher was born on Jan. 5, 1923 in Decatur, Illinois, the eldest child of Gertrude and Herman Herring. She passed away peacefully in her sleep on June 12, 2018, at the age of 95. In her own words, she "had a happy life", even though she grew up during the Great Depression. She was blessed with a sister, Betty, and three brothers, Russell, Howard, and Danny. She graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in Decatur, Illinois. While attending Findlay College, in Findlay, Ohio, just following World War II, she met the love of her life, James M. Kempher, who had just returned from service with the 82nd Airborne in Europe. They were married in a double ceremony on June 8, 1946, along with her sister, Betty, and Edward Atkins, at Boiling Springs Church, just outside of Decatur. Virginia is survived by her three children, S. Lynn Kempher, David M. Kempher, and Jill Johnson (Paul). She is also survived by her granddaughters, Stephanie (Steve) Mogolis, and Kimberly Parker; grandsons, David Baker (Shannon), James Baker and Matthew Parker. She also leaves behind great grandchildren, Victoria and Shawn Gricol, Chrissy Mogolis, Sheady, Daegan, and Tristyn Baker, Colten and Rylynd Baker; great great grandchildren, Eliden Noriega, Easton Baker and Enzley Baker. Virginia was preceded in her last journey by her husband, James M. Kempher; sister, Betty Atkins, and her parents, Herman and Gertrude Herring. Virginia and James and their children traveled widely throughout the U.S. while the children were growing up. While living in Edwardsville, Illinois, she was very active in the First Christian Church there, and was president of Church Women United for two years in the mid sixties. During that tenure, she led the local church women in integrating all the churches in town. She was the first woman to ever speak at a service at St. Boniface Catholic Church, and the first Caucasian woman to attend Wesley AME Church. Even though the local school system had been integrated for some time, the churches still kept to themselves, and her efforts led to widely diversified churches from that time on. After the children were grown, her husband worked for Alpha Lavall in Sweden, and they spent much time traveling in Europe. Later they moved to Canada and lived there several years, finally returning to Ohio. After her husband passed, Virginia lived in northern Colorado for 2 years, helping her daughter, Lynn run a mountain lodge there. She was also a talented painter and craftsperson and taught her skills to many. She spent the last years of her life, in Derby, Ks. with her daughter, Jill, and Jill's husband Paul Johnson, surrounded by many of her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Virginia was a wonderful mother, grandmother, and beloved wife. She passed on wise rules and skills for living and her legacy is ongoing with her children and friends. Her life was well lived, personified in Proverbs 31: 10-31.