Beryl I. Kempf

November 10, 1924 ~ July 23, 2019 (age 94)


Beryl I. (Blue) Kempf, age 94, of Marshall, peacefully passed away on Tuesday morning, July 23, 2019 in the loving care of her family and Oaklawn Hospice.

She was born on November 10, 1924 at home in Clarendon Township on her family's farm to Gilbert William and Blanche (Andrus) Blue. Beryl enjoyed her childhood on the farm. Her father and mother built their bungalow across the tracks on the farm from the main farmhouse where her beloved Grandpa and Grandma Blue lived. Money was tight due to the times, but Beryl never felt she was without. Love, home grown produce, chicken and beef, and milk from the family's dairy cattle were plentiful. Playing in the fields, fishing and swimming in the St. Joe River that runs through the farm were great memories. She loved to churn the butter. When she was a teenager, she was afforded the duty of driving the tractor when her brother and crew were baling hay. She attended Darrow School near the farm and then Homer High School for several years.

When Beryl was 13 years old, her father died. Her mother remarried Harry Howes and Beryl moved to Augusta with them. She attended Augusta High School and graduated from there in 1942. While living in Augusta, her stepfather Harry would give Beryl train passes (he was a railroad man) and she could travel back to Homer safely to visit family and friends.

The Blue farm is a Centennial Farm that remains in the family and held a special place in Beryl's heart always.

After graduation from high school, Beryl moved to Marshall to live with her sister Bernadine while Bernadine's husband was away serving in WWII. They shared an apartment on W. Michigan Avenue (along with Bernadine's toddler Jeff!). Beryl started working for Dr. Herman Beuker, MD in his office at the corner of E. Michigan Avenue and Madison Street as Dr.'s receptionist and assistant.

She worked with Virginia Rentschler in the Dr's office. Virginia and her husband Louis kept trying to "connect" Beryl with a local sailor, Robert T. Kempf who had grown up with Louis. Beryl successfully dodged that date for quite a while! But when Bob was home on leave in 1946 he visited Dr. Beuker's office for a sinus infection. Virginia told Beryl "Bob is out in the office, go take a look!". Beryl did, returned to Virginia and said famously "I don't see what's so special about him!". But Bob was persistent as any good sailor would be spotting a beautiful young woman, and the date occurred. They fell in love and were married in Bryan, Ohio on March 7, 1947 after his discharge from the Navy. Beryl continued working in the Dr.'s office until their son Craig was born in 1954.

In early 1956 Beryl and Bob moved to Maplefield Avenue in Pleasant Ridge when Bob took a job at Plymouth. While there they welcomed their daughter Ann to the family in 1957. In 1959 Bob was offered a promotion with Plymouth that would have resulted in the family moving to South America. Beryl and Bob decided they wanted their children to have the advantage of growing up near family, so Bob left Plymouth in the late summer of 1959 and the family returned to Marshall where they stayed.

Beryl went to work at the Marshall Chronicle in 1961 where she oversaw the paper routes. In 1962 she went to work at King's Jewelers in Marshall where she worked until 1967. That year Bob became the AAA representative for Marshall, and they opened a local AAA office in the front of their home at the corner of N. Kalamazoo Avenue and Union Street. For many years Beryl tended to the office taking in auto insurance payments, handing out Trip Ticks and taking care of paperwork at all hours and days of the week while being able to be a stay at home mom and homemaker. Lots of hard work that she loved. The couple retired in 1989. Beryl got to enjoy many trips with Bob with their favorite trip always was returning to stay at "The Duke of York" in Virginia and travel that part of the south. The other all-time favorite for Beryl was their two trips to Maui.

Beryl loved to decorate, and her home showed it. She and Bob restored their 1860's home on N. Kalamazoo over the years with Beryl thinking of it and handy Bob doing the necessary work! She made every holiday and birthday and life event very special for Craig and Ann. Her birthday cakes and parties were epic productions of decoration representing something special in the children's lives. At the same time, Craig and Ann well knew they did not have to "wait for your dad to get home" if they stepped out of line! The family dachshund Fritz was supposed to be Craig and Ann's dog, but he was Beryl's best buddy! She enjoyed a good piece of prime rib or steak or ribs on the grill as recently as the Fourth of July!

The Kempf house was a well-known destination for food, drink, fun, and unconditional love for granddaughters, nieces, nephews, friends of the kids and anyone in need of an ear or good advice whether in trouble or not. Beryl and Bob provided a home for Beryl's mother Blanche at the end of her lifetime, with Blanche getting to join in on the fun! Beryl loved the young people coming to the house, with never a knock necessary. Family Christmas Eve was a tradition enjoyed for many years at Beryl and Bob's for the kids and grandkids, with wonderful meals being prepared by Beryl and Bob, who both were great cooks!

Her favorite activity of all was anything with her 3 granddaughters! They were the apple of Beryl's (and Bob's!) eyes! Special times abounded for Sarah, Megan and Erin all through their lives with Grandma.

She was a member of Zion Lutheran Church. Beryl was one of the charter members of Christ Lutheran Church also. She was an active committee member of Christ Lutheran's original building committee which she always said was one of the best experiences of her life, working together with wonderful people. Beryl was a Blue Bird Leader when Ann was young.

On February 7, 2005 Beryl lost the love of her life and her soul mate, Bob, when he passed away. Beryl continued life with her well known
optimism, good humor, and understanding of life at their home on Alcott Street where they had moved to.

In the spring of 2016 Beryl suffered a fall that caused her to fracture her hip. She announced that it was time for Craig to get her a room at Maplewood. Always in charge with good decisions being made was her habit right up till her last day.

She leaves her family, son and daughter-in-law Craig and Sue Kempf
and daughter and son-in-law Ann and Joe Fitzpatrick all of Marshall; beloved granddaughters Sarah (Garrett Isham) Kempf, Dr. Megan (Dr. Drew Hasley) Fitzpatrick , and Erin Fitzpatrick; her "officially" (as only Grandma Kempf could do!) adopted grandsons Ben (Stephanie) Ziskal and Jon (Rebecca Spalding) Ziskal and great-grandsons Zachary and Cameron Ziskal; her nieces and nephews, Jeff (Shirley) Williamson, Paula (Bill) Leake, Steve (June) Williamson, Connie (Jim) Gardner, Dan (Raynette) Kempf, Bill (Martha) Bush and Brenda (Ken) Boyce; and numerous great-nieces and great-nephews.

Besides Bob she was preceded in death by her parents, stepfather Harry Howes, brother Willis G. Blue, sister Bernadine Blue, nephews Stanley Blue Andrew "Bing" Bush, and Peter Kempf.

Visitation will be held at the Marshall Chapel of Kempf Family Funeral & Cremation Services on Thursday, July 25. Funeral services celebrating her life and her Lord will be held on Friday, July 26 at 1:30 PM at the Marshall Chapel with Rev. Anthony Voltatorni of Zion Lutheran Church officiating. Afterwards she will be laid to rest beside her beloved Bob at Oakridge Cemetery. A luncheon for family and friends will be held at the Kempf Funeral Home's Reception Hall afterwards.

The family suggests for those who wish to, to make memorial contributions to either Oaklawn Hospital ( or Oaklawn Hospice (www.oaklawnhospital/services/hospice/) or assistance is available at the funeral home.

To sign the online guest register and leave a message for the family please visit


JUL 25. 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM (EDT)

Marshall Chapel of Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services
723 US HWY 27 North
Marshall, MI, 49068


JUL 25. 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM (EDT)

Marshall Chapel of Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services
723 US HWY 27 North
Marshall, MI, 49068


JUL 26. 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM (EDT)

Marshall Chapel of Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services
723 US HWY 27 North
Marshall, MI, 49068

Committal Services

JUL 26. 2:30 PM - 3:00 PM (EDT)

Oakridge Cemetery
614 Homer Road
Marshall, MI, 49068

Luncheon Following Committal Services

JUL 26. 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM (EDT)

Marshall Chapel of Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services
723 US HWY 27 North
Marshall, MI, 49068

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