Cover photo for Richard Leveret Kemp's Obituary
Richard Leveret Kemp Profile Photo
1933 Richard 2023

Richard Leveret Kemp

September 11, 1933 — December 13, 2023

Asheboro

 

Richard Leveret Kemp of Asheboro, husband and best friend of the late Joan Carlton Kemp and loving father of Cheri Lynn Ferguson of Wilmington and Mark Richard Kemp of Asheboro, died December 13, 2023, at the Randolph Hospice House. He was 90.

The family will receive friends on Friday, December 22, 2023, at 1 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 224 North Fayetteville Street in Asheboro. A memorial service will follow at 2 p.m. in the church sanctuary with the Rev. Lynda Ferguson officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church.

Mr. Kemp was born in Asheboro, North Carolina, on September 11, 1933, to Eli and Edna Beeson Kemp. He was raised in a Quaker household and graduated from Asheboro High School in 1951. It was during high school that he fell in love with classmate Joan Carlton, and the couple soon began dating. Richard attended Guilford College for two years, and later served his country in the U.S. Air Force, stationed in Morocco, where he learned about the then-new transistor technology that would transform the world of electronics. Richard and Joan were married in Nashville in 1953, and the couple lived briefly in Belleville, Illinois, and then Waco, Texas, during Richard’s time in the Air Force. They settled back home in 1957. Their first child, daughter Cheri, was born in 1955; son Mark came in 1960.

In Asheboro, Richard worked his way up from a toolbelt-wearing factory worker to management positions with General Electric’s (later Black & Decker’s) housewares division. The family spent their summers in Tennessee, Georgia, or Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. After Cheri and Mark graduated college and moved, respectively, to California and New York City, the Kemps, in their retirement, would drive to see them. As their children continued moving to other parts of the country, the Kemps continued driving to visit them, and by 2005, the couple had driven through every state in the continental United States. “My friends would ask me, ‘How in the world can you spend so much time cooped up in a car with your wife on the road?’” Richard once told son Mark, who wrote extensively of his father and family in his 2004 book Dixie Lullaby: A Story of Music, Race, and New Beginnings in a New South. “I said, ‘Well, because I love her. She’s my best friend.’”

Richard and Joan were longtime members of First United Methodist Church. In addition to his parents, Richard was preceded in death by his wife; his grandson, Nathan Ferguson; and his sister, Louise Moody. Richard was active throughout his life, bicycling to work in the 1970s, jogging, playing golf at Asheboro Country Club, and walking his faithful Labrador retrievers, Otis and later Jetta, at the YMCA. He is survived by his daughter, Cheri, and her husband Howard Ferguson of Wilmington; son, Mark, of Asheboro, and Mark’s ex-wife Tarrah Segal, of South Carolina; granddaughter, Danielle Eriksson, and her husband Chris of Wilmington; adopted granddaughter Amber Stone; great-grandchildren, Jax, Malin, and Axl Eriksson; and his faithful canine companion, Jetta, whom he was still walking just weeks before his death.

Pugh Funeral Home in Asheboro is serving the Kemp family.  Please share remembrances and condolences at www.pughfuneralhome.com

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Richard Leveret Kemp, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, December 22, 2023

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

First United Methodist Church

224 N Fayetteville St, Asheboro, NC 27203

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Friday, December 22, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

First United Methodist Church

224 N Fayetteville St, Asheboro, NC 27203

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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