Dr. Carlos K. Kemper
June 8th, 1938 – March 20th, 2022
Dr. Carlos Kirk Kemper, a Madras resident since 1968, was loved by anyone that came across his path. He died March 20th, 2022, from numerous complications related to Parkinson’s and Dementia. There was nothing more important to him than his family, so with eight members and two-family dogs by his side during his last few days on earth, it was a picture-perfect send-off.
His life was filled with service to his beloved community in Madras – whether it be heading up little-league (10 years), chairing the Chamber of Commerce, supporting Kiwanis, spearheading the Madras Aquatic Center, planning the Buff Boosters banquets to support the sports events in the school district, volunteering at the Methodist Church for copious different events, or making house-calls to those that couldn’t drive or even pay for medical services…his whole-heart was all in, if it was going to help an individual, a family, an entire town, or society in general. His wife, Peggy, even had to put him on a budget of giving, which he surely did not follow many times.
Carlos grew up in the small town of Viborg, South Dakota. He met Peggy at church…when they were three and five years old. They married in 1958 and had 3 children. Carlos followed his father’s path of giving to his community and becoming a doctor. His studies lead him to the University of South Dakota and Kansas City University, graduating in 1963. He interned at Good Samaritan, in Portland, post-graduation, then spent two years of family practice residency in San Bernardino, CA. In Lieu of doing military physicals, during wartime, Carlos decided that the best learning experience would be to sign up and work in the United States Indian Health Service in Browning, Montana for two more years.
After his Browning, Montana stint, Carlos and Peggy loaded all three children into their Oldsmobile vista-cruiser and headed west, looking for a permanent home to “set-up-shop.” As they hit Oregon, it started to feel like home, but with 35 Doctors in Bend, Carlos thought there would be no way he’d end up with enough patients to fill a practice, so they continued North. In Madras, their car broke down and word got out that a young new physician was looking to start a new practice. At the time, Dr. Thomas was about to retire, so the town “wine-and-dined” Peggy and Carlos and after a round of golf at Nine Peaks, and a few days of embracing Carlos and Peggy, they decided Madras was going to be their home.
As many of you know, Carlos was not just in family practice, he was also the ER doctor, the OB doctor (delivering over 1,500 babies), and he performed numerous minor-surgeries. He spent many years working part-time at the St. Charles Immediate Care in Bend, and he also spent a few years traveling to remote towns, such as Burns and John Day to relieve their doctors so they could have a weekend off. Carlos had a special talent of listening well, his patients loved him, and he made it easy for fellow staff members to work with him. In 1987, Carlos received the well-deserved Oregon Family Practice Doctor of the Year, in which all his children flew in to surprise him. He didn’t know he’d even been nominated. Carlos loved many activities. White-water rafting was a highlight and what brought the most joy, laughter, crazy dress-up opportunities, amazing memories, and most of all, it brough the closest of friends into his life. With Tim, his son, stationed in Germany, Carlos and Peggy were introduced to the European life they lived and spent precious time with their grandchildren travelling abroad. Carlos and Peggy sat on a lot of “bleachers” cheering on their children and grandchildren, which was the highlight of Carlos’ retirement years. Carlos also spent most of his life singing with a variety of choirs.
He is survived by his wife of 63 1/2 years, Peggy (Frederickson) Kemper; Children Greg Kemper & wife Kathy and their two children Krissi Kemper and Kelsi Young; Tim Kemper & wife Karrie and their two children, Matthew & wife Danielle, and Daniel; Kathy Kemper-Zanck & husband, Gary Zanck and Kathy’s son, Keaton and Gary’s daughter, Peytan. In addition, he left four great-grandchildren: Beckam, Sadie, Aksel, and Silas.
The Celebration of Carlos’ life will be June 25th, location is TBD. In Lieu of flowers, (we have plenty), Carlos would be thrilled to see donations made to the United Methodist Church or the Madras Aquatics Center.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Carlos Kirk Kemper, please visit our floral store.