In Remembrance: Frank A. Kemp ’42 Died on April 8 2013

Frank Alexander Kemp, class of 1942, died peacefully on April 8, 2013, at age 91 after a long illness.  He was known for his quiet strength, integrity, and generosity of spirit.  He was a great Marine, a true man of the West, a loving husband, father, and grandfather, and he will be missed by all who knew him. 

Born in Denver on May 10, 1921, he attended East Denver High School and the Choate School, graduating from Yale University in 1942 where he played varsity football and rugby and was a member of Skull and Bones.  Before graduation, he attended the Marine Corps’ officer’s training program in San Diego and Quantico, Virginia.  After completing the training not long after graduation, he became a company commander in the famous 1st Marine Raider Battalion and later the Fourth Marine Regiment.  He participated in the battles of New Georgia, Guam (where he was elevated to captain in the LST during the landing), and Okinawa.  Highly decorated, among other citations Frank was awarded a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, a Soldier’s Medal, as well as a gold star in lieu of a second Purple Heart.  A serious shrapnel injury sustained in April 1945 on Okinawa led to his return to the States, where following hospital stays and rehabilitation, he worked on the football coaching staff at the US Naval Academy until he resigned his USMC commission in 1947. 

Frank ultimately returned to Colorado and the West, working in the sugar beet industry in Colorado and as a cowhand on one of the largest cattle ranches in Montana.   Moving back to Denver in 1950, he began a long career in the land and livestock business, owning and operating farms and ranches throughout the Rocky Mountain West, operating feedlots, buying and selling wool, sheep, fattened lambs and cattle, and appraising ranch properties.  A lifelong but moderate Republican, Frank served in the Colorado state legislature from 1960 through 1970, with three two-year terms in the Colorado general assembly and one four-year term as a member of the Colorado state senate.   He ran for the US House of Representatives in 1968, nearly unseating the 20-year incumbent in a Democratic city in what was the closest election since 1952, and retired from public office in 1970.  He was a member of the board of directors of the Colorado Cattle Feeders Association and a member of the Colorado and American Societies of Farm and Ranch Managers and Rural Appraisers, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, the American National Cattlemen’s Association, and the National Lamb Feeders Association.  He also served on the board of trustees of the Colorado State Historical Society and was a member of the hospital executive council of St. Joseph’s Hospital.  He is survived by his favorite companion and wife of 62 years, Polly Kemp; his two sons, Frank A. (Alec) Kemp and J. Hovey Kemp and his spouse Mary Ellen Kemp; and two grandsons, Matthew Kemp and Wilson Kemp.

—Submitted by the family

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