BREAKING NEWS: Dr. Mike Kemp Reported to Have Passed Away

Posted on 29 November 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Deaf, East Asia Pacific Region, Education, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, News, signed languages | Tags: , , , , |

At about 1 am GMT, I received word that Dr. Mike Kemp has passed away. A member of Gallaudet University’s faculty, Kemp was an international consultant who conducted training workshops in the Far East, Central and South America, the Caribbean islands, Middle East, and Europe. For the past 10 years, he worked in Thailand and Vietnam in sign language teacher training programs. More background on Dr. Kemp is at
His web page includes a video of Kemp describing his recent work in American Sign Language.

As of this writing (3 am GMT, Nov 30 ’08) official confirmation has not yet been posted on Gallaudet’s web site but is said to be anticipated soon. [UPDATE Dec 1 ’08, 4 p.m. GMT/UTC: I still have not seen an announcement on Gallaudet’s web site, but the Provost’s office has now circulated an obituary from Kemp’s family. I have posted that obituary at]

When it is posted at Gallaudet’s site, it should probably be available either at or possibly at

I extend my condolences to all who knew Kemp or who were touched by him or his work.

I first learned this news via the GallyProtest mailing list; the list administrator, Brian Riley, has indicated that he learned of this event through Aidan Mack’s vlog post on the topic (in American Sign Language), sharing how Kemp touched her life as a professor at Gallaudet University.

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6 Responses to “BREAKING NEWS: Dr. Mike Kemp Reported to Have Passed Away”

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I’m very sad that Dr.Mike Kemp passed away.
He taught me as Thai Sign Language teaching
certificate program at Ratchasuda College,
Mahidol University, Thailand, in year 1999 –
2000. He was as a most excellent visit lectuer.
If he had not been to Ratchasuda before,
Thai Sign Language Teaching would never born
for Thai hearing and deaf students.

Being happy on heaven

how did he died?

hiii there. very nice site. please visit my blog

[…] at the end; condolences should please be sent directly to the family, NOT via We Can Do. I had reported on the news of Kemp’s loss over the weekend. I know that he will be missed not only by the Gallaudet University community but […]

At this time, I have not seen an official declaration on the cause of death. The obituary issued by his family earlier today did not discuss the issue, which I interpret as meaning either that

1. The family feels the cause of death is irrelevant, and that the focus should be on celebrating the life and contributions of Dr. Mike Kemp, or,

2. That the family feels this information is simply too personal to share at this time in a public forum.

Or perhaps a bit of both.

Either way, I feel that the rest of us should respect his family’s wishes and follow their example until and unless they choose to reveal further detail at their own pace, and at their own volition, without pressure or speculation from the rest of us.

Dr Kemp was the speaker at the first ASL teacher workshop in northern Michigan in mid-1990s. This led to the formation of the Michigan Chapter of ASLTA later on. We all are grateful for his service and miss him.

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