Stephen Alan Kemper

October 06th, 2017

Stephen Alan Kemper, 78, of 455 West Main Street, Bellevue, Ohio 44811, passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by family and friends on October 6, 2017 12:00 A.M. while listening to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.  He was born in Norwalk, Ohio on June 20, 1939 to Maudi-belle (Hosford) Kemper and Henry David Kemper.  He was the youngest of four children.  He was preceded in death by his siblings Henry David Kemper, Jr (1943) and Kathryn Black (2009), and is survived by his brother William C. Kemper of East Lansing, Michigan. 


Steve was an elementary student in Norwalk and graduated as Class President from Clyde High School in 1957.  He then served in the United States Marine Corps as a Corporal from 1957-1959.  Following his service he worked at Yosemite National Park before attending college.  Steve married Susan Cumming on September 26, 1964, and they had two children, Kenneth L. Kemper (Lorna) and Stephanie Kemper Liu (John).  He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1965, where he earned a BA in English and also studied Piano Technology.  They moved to Bellevue and opened Kemper Keyboard.  Steve joined his father in the scrap business at Kemper Iron & Metal Company, which Henry founded in 1904.  Steve became the owner in the 1970s and ultimately operated the business for 52 years.   


On March 3, 1978, Steve married Mary Elizabeth Sheridan Ralls Kemper and welcomed her children, Jason R. Pressler (Sandy) and Heidi Kemper Hodges (James), into the family.  Together they raised their kids and had a wonderful marriage until Mary Beth passed on February 4, 2010.  Their favorite project was the restoration and renovation of the Main Street historic home built in 1876.  They opened this home to the public as Britannia Bed and Breakfast and created numerous special memories for the community and its guests.  They loved to entertain, enjoyed fine food, classical music, and hosted many elegant parties.


Steve completed his life with his loving companion Cheryl Irons, and her three grown children Julie Irons Cave (Bryant), Jenny Irons Sloas (Ben), Sarah Irons (Patrick), and their families.


Steve was dedicated to the community and served in several leadership positions.  On March 25, 1995 the Bellevue Area Chamber of Commerce named him Corporate Citizen of the Year.  He was a proud Rotarian since 1967 and served as the President of Bellevue’s Rotary Club in 1995-96.  He had over 20 years of perfect attendance and was a Rotary Foundation Paul Harris Fellow. In the Presidential election year of 2000, the Republican Presidential Committee awarded him a Medal of Honor recognizing him as an Honorary Regional Chairman.  Steve loved and promoted Bellevue businesses.  He was an active member of the Bellevue Area Chamber of Commerce where he served as a Director from 1998-2003, and President in 2002.  He also served as a member of the Bellevue Hospital Foundation Board for many years. Steve was elected and served multiple terms as a city councilman.  Steve had a lifelong passion for literature, poetry, and valued philosophy and critical thought.  This led to his love and promotion for the Bellevue Public Library where he served on the board of trustees and was President during the major renovation that makes the library what is today.  Perhaps his most cherished community role was serving on the Board of Directors of Croghan Colonial Bank where he was elected in 1996, and continued to serve until his death.  Prior to his director role at Croghan Colonial Bank, Steve served several terms on the Board of Directors of the Union Bank of Bellevue. 


After being diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in July of 2016, his warrior spirit battled to live, love, and serve as long as he could giving those who knew him the gift of time and inspiration to fight their battles… even when unjust.  He had a big personality, huge heart, and will be deeply missed by his family, close friends, and community.  Special thanks to Dr. Sarah Graham from the Stein Palliative/Hospice care team, Dr. Fanning and the Foos family. 


At Steve’s request, friends will be received Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017 from 2 - 8 pm at the Kemper residence at 455 W. Main St., Bellevue. A funeral service will be held Friday, Oct. 13, 2017 at the Bellevue Society for the Arts, 205 Maple St., Bellevue at 6 pm after a hour of visitation.  Burial will be Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017 at 10 am in Woodlawn Cemetery, Norwalk.


In Lieu of Flowers memorials may be made to The Bellevue Public Library, 224 East Main St., Bellevue, OH  44811 or the Bellevue Hospital Foundation 1400 West Main St., Bellevue, OH  44811.


Foos & Foos Funeral Service, 151 Yorkshire Place, Bellevue, OH  44811 in care of arrangements.


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