Dr. Michael Kemp: Obituary from His Family

Posted on 1 December 2008. Filed under: Deaf, East Asia Pacific Region, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, News, signed languages | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Gallaudet University Provost’s Office has released the following obituary for Dr. Mike Kemp. People who wish to send condolences to his family will want to take note of the contact information provided 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 also by the Deaf communities of Vietnam and Thailand.

December 1, 2008

Dear Campus Community:

The family of Dr. Michael Kemp, who passed away last week, has written the following obituary in celebration of Dr. Kemp’s life and accomplishments:

Dr. W. Michael Kemp, 60, a professor in the Department of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies, died on November 24, 2008 in Alexandria, Virginia.

William Michael Kemp was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania to William and Marie Kemp. Deaf from birth, he graduated from Lancaster Catholic High School. Mike, as he was known, received his bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1971 from Gallaudet University, and his master’s degree in deaf education in 1975 from William McDaniel College (formerly Western Maryland College). He earned the degree of Doctor of Education in higher education administration in 1986 from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. His dissertation was titled “A Comparison of the Simultaneous Method Evaluation and the Sign Communication Proficiency Interview (SCPI).”

Dr. Kemp taught American Sign Language for 35 years, the last 31 at Gallaudet University. He served for 12 years as chair of three different academic departments before stepping down to focus on teaching and consulting. His main area of interest and expertise was training people to communicate gesturally to prepare for travel abroad.

Since 1980, he had trained sign language instructors throughout the United States and the world, in the Far East, Central and South America, the Caribbean islands, the Middle East, and Europe. He taught at the University of Puerto Rico, the University of British Columbia, Douglas College (in British Columbia), Thailand’s Ratchasuda College, and Vietnam’s Teacher Training Center.

For the last 10 years, Dr. Kemp worked extensively in Thailand and Vietnam with groups of deaf students in the Sign Language Teacher Training Program. He made frequent trips to serve as a visiting professor at the Cao Dang Su Pham (Teaching Training Center) in Dong Nai Province, near Ho Chi Minh City. Last month, Dr. Kemp was invited as a technical expert on information and communication access at the “Gathering Inputs and Recommendations for the Development of the National Law on Disability” conference in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Dr. Kemp received a research stipend award from the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research to attend the 18th International Congress on Education of the Deaf in 1995 in Tel Aviv, Israel. He also received the T. J. O’Rourke Memorial Award from the American Sign Language Teachers Association in 2002 in recognition of his international work, and the Teacher of the Year Award in 2008 from the Alpha Sigma Pi Fraternity.

Dr. Kemp was a member of the advisory board for the interpreter training program at Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale campus. He was a member of the National and Virginia Associations of the Deaf. He enjoyed photography, reading, traveling, and spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren.

Dr. Kemp is survived by a son, William M. Kemp, Jr., of Fairfax, Virginia; William Jr.’s mother, Dr. Vicki J. Shank, a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science; his wife of 13 years, Joan Kemp; and two step-daughters, Jennifer Yost Ortiz and her husband, Anthony, and Jamie Yost, a staff interpreter with Gallaudet Interpreting Service, and her husband, Raymond Merritt, a professor in the Department of Biology; and two grandchildren, Zion and Zeke Ortiz. He is also survived by a brother, Thomas Kemp, his wife, Linda, and two nephews, Dan and Jack.

There will be two memorial services. The first will be private, for family and close friends. The second will take place in early 2009 on the Gallaudet University campus, and will be open to the community. The date for this service will be announced at a later time, as will information about memorial contributions.

Condolences may be sent to Dr. Kemp’s son, Bill Kemp, at 13112 Watchwood Lane, Fairfax, VA 22315, and to his wife, Joan Kemp, P.O. Box 4228, Alexandria, VA 22303.



If there are any obituaries for Dr. Kemp that have been written by members of the Deaf communities in Vietnam or Thailand, or that are otherwise centered on his international work in developing nations, I would be interested in publishing them at We Can Do. Or, if these have already been posted elsewhere, then I would like to link to them. Please contact me by leaving a comment below with your email address in the email address field, or send me an email at ashettle[at]patriot.net (substitute the @ at sign @ for [at] to create my address).

A biography of Dr. Kemp is available at http://deafstudies.gallaudet.edu/Faculty-Staff/ASL_and_Deaf_Studies/Kemp_Mike.html. A former student of Dr. Kemp at Gallaudet created a video memorial for Kemp, presented in American Sign Language, at http://deaffilmblog.blogspot.com/2008/11/in-memory-of-dr-mike-kemp-re-defining-d.html.

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6 Responses to “Dr. Michael Kemp: Obituary from His Family”

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[…] 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 https://wecando.wordpress.com/2008/12/01/dr-michael-kemp-obituary-from-his-family/.%5D […]

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INTRODUCTION SPDA stands for Special Person Development Association, which is a Non – governmental, non- political organization, working for the welfare of the Disabled people. SPDA was established in 2003.At present permanent membership of SPDA is 270,and the number honorary member is 560.SPDA was founded by disabled people themselves for the enhancement of their rights and respect in the community. The association also has some honorary members who does not fall in the category of special person Similar kind of association is known as DPO (Disabled Person Organization) on the international level. The basic purpose of the establishment of SPDA is to make the disable people of the society useful and beneficial for themselves and for the society at large. Some motives of the association are as under. 1) To give them respect and recognition on govt. for the protection of their rights as the citizens of state and to create a general awareness in the society about their rights. 2) It will provide special people (Disabled People) with certificate and will register them with the social welfare dep’t. 3) To provide the help special people in getting wheel chairs, tricycles, artificial limbs and sometimes to help them financially. The association will help them in getting financial assistance from the govt. 4) The association will provide them legal aid in getting the Special people to be recruited in their allocated 2% quota in the govt. job in private job as well. 5) Association will hold seminars, workshops classes and conferences for the uplifting of the special people in the society and to establish their entity in the community so that they shall be considered as integral part of the society and not as a dormant limb. SPDA is established with the view of equipping the disabled people (Physically, visually hearing impaired and Intellectually handicap) of the society to make them useful, integral and Respectable member of society. The plain of the association is to establish a center in the provincial headquarter, Peshawar where special people well get free of cost health facilities, free education, and will be armed with craftsmanship (Skill) which will help them in fighting against their disability and respectable life in the society. There is also a provision of hostel, dinning pick and drop facility in the program of SPDA. The center will be established with the vision to facilitate the special people (disabled people) with arts and crafts, which they can learn easily and which will help them in earning and butter for themselves and for their families, for example, carpet knitting, computer, repairing of T.V and Radio, Computer hardware engineering tailoring and many more such things which they can do and learn easily and which are beneficial for them. You can do a lot for the uplift of the special people of the society and assist the association in fulfilling the greatest job for the humanity. You can help the association in the following way: 1/. If you are young, middle age, old age you can get honorary membership and can come out with your support to help special people. 2/. If you are a social worker, you can join SPDA as their special helper in establishing their center. 3/. If you are a trader (employer, doctors, actors, sports man) you can come out with the financial or moral support of SPDA and can earn heavens for yourself. Till now SPDA has provide more than four hundred and fifty people with disability certificates and registered with social department. 1/. Approximately 60 people have been provided with government financial assistance of Rs.5000/- per head. 2/. One hundred and thirty people have been provided with tri-cycles and wheelchairs from the govt exchequer. 3/. 20 people have been providing with sewing machines. 4/. 50 peoples have been provided with artificial limbs from different artificial limbs workshop. 5/. 22 persons were assisted in getting govt jobs. 6/. Up till now seminars on 9 different topic and 10 workshops have been arranged and 2 provincial conferences has been held as well. If you want to assist the association financially, you can deposit charity in our account bearing No: 13522-0 National Bank of Pakistan .

Special Person Development Association,
Village Muslim Abad, Near Hujra Zain
Ullah Khan, Post Office: Bakhshu Pull,
Charsadda Road.
Teh. / Distt Peshawar, NWFP, PAKISTAN.
Registration No: DSW/2374/NWFP (2004).
Phone: + 92-91-7125130, Cell No: +92-91-03219020048,
E-mail: spda_6@yahoo.com spda_60@hotmail.com
Fakhr-e-Alam Road. PESHAWAR Cantt. National Bank Of Pakistan.
Online account No: – 13522-0

Dear All,
I hope that you will be fine. I am the General Secretary of SPDA and Vice President of DPI-P.Being a partner of PWDs I am sending you the brief introduction of SPDA.I want to communicate with all organization that are working for the PWDs to share the information and experience. So communicate with us to enhance the working for PWDs.
Thanks for all,
Best Regards,
. IHSAN ULLAH DAUDZAI
Vice President DPI-P
General Secretary SPDA

NWFP Peshawar Pakistan.
Registration No: DSW/2374/NWFP (2004).
Email Address: spda.org@gmail.com,spda_6@yahoo.com
Office Phone No: +92-91 7125130
Cell No: +92-91-0321-9020048
Account No: 13522-0 National Bank Of Pakistan
Main Branch Fakhre Alam Road
Peshawar Cantt NWFP Pakistan.
Office Address: SPDA office village Muslim Abad P/O Bakhshu Pul charrsda road
Tehsil and District Peshawar NWFP Pakistan.

[…] Dr. Michael Kemp: Obituary from His Family The Gallaudet University Provost’s Office has released the following obituary for Dr. Mike Kemp. People who wish […] […]

There’s good info here. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog. Keep up the good work mate!


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