Grace  Kemp

Obituary of Grace Marie Kemp


Grace Kemp October 20, 1924–March 9, 2024

Grace Marie Catherine Carpenter Kemp—in her latter decades known as, “Amazing Grace”— passed away on March 9, 2024. She was 99 years old, and indeed, amazing, thanks to a long, active, often adventure-filled life. This was a person focused on moving forward through life tenaciously, and always with a wisecrack. She never really stopped.

Grace was born in Baltimore, Maryland. She, and husband of 53 years, Frank Kemp, met each other when they were in the Navy during World War II. They married in 1946, and soon after she moved to Oakland, California, where Frank lived and was born. In 1954, she gave birth to her first and only child, Christopher F. Kemp.

Grace lived with her family in that same house in Oakland until 1967, at which time they moved to neighboring San Leandro, less than a half mile away. It was their only other home, until Grace moved down to the Monterey Peninsula to be closer to her son in 2018, where she spent her remaining years.

Grace’s husband was a dedicated basketball coach for over a half century, both at the grammar and high school level. Grace was behind him every step of the way. She worked the snack bar, sewed ripped uniforms, waited with players until their parents came—in short, she became a fixture at St. Louis Betrand, Oakland first and then later for decades when Coach Kemp became athletic director at St. Leander, San Leandro. Her support of Frank brought her many admirers and was the first place she made a widespread impression on people, usually a lasting one.

Once Chris came of college age, Grace, husband in tow, started the next major phase of her life: travel. Though in the early days the family road tripped to thirty-five states, driving back east every few years to see Grace’s family, in the 1970’s the scope of her travel grew tremendously. She and Frank made it to over 12 European countries, including Romania, as well as Japan and China. As a solo tourist, Grace boated down the Nile, and went on an African safari when she was in her very late 80’s. It was truly a remarkable run.

If there is one personal characteristic that defines Grace Kemp, it is undoubtedly her sense of humor. She literally couldn’t contain it. Whether you were family, a kid running around a basketball court, a parent, a neighbor, or a travel companion, you could not help but be amused by the constant barrage of quips flowing from her. That was the core of her magnetism. People rarely forgot her after they met her. Her humor was her signature as was, in later years, her impeccably coiffed shock of white hair.

Grace leaves behind her son, Christopher, her daughter-in-law, Linda, granddaughters, Vita McConnell, and Dearna Singer, great-grandchildren, Bethanny and Bishop Singer. She also had a tremendously close relationship with nephew Alan Carpenter, and wife, Roxanne, who she was as close to as a son and daughter.

If you knew Grace and wish to celebrate her life, there will be a remembrance Mass announced at a later date.


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A Memorial Tree was planted for Grace
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Bermudez Family Cremations and Funeral
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