Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Today I will conduct the funeral service for one of our elderly members. Doug was 83 and in declining health for the past couple of years. Each time he went into hospital he came out a little more frail, a little more confused, and honestly none of us including his loving family wanted him to have to endure any more.

But these twilight years were not the sum of his life. Doug and his wife, Billie, have been the proverbial pillars of our congregation. Doug made a point of welcoming newcomers and learning their names. Together they have been tremendously generous to those who are in need and supportive of the vulnerable as they lived out their Christian faith. More than any other person Doug has asked me about the work my wife Ruth does as a crisis counsellor in a women's shelter. The two of them have been incredibly modest about their kindness, an indication that it came from the heart.

Of course Doug was a character with a quick wit which was often pointed at me. A month before his death he was the critical care unit of the hospital. I found him there connected to the monitors and with his eyes closed. I commented that this was the third different room in three visits, was he trying to avoid me. His eyes opened, and with the sliver of a grin he asked "could you blame me?"

He will be missed. I will miss him.



IanD said...

That's a shame. He was such a nice man, and such a fixture at the church.

Thoughts to Mrs. K. and all who loved him.

Laurie said...

I have known Doug Kemp all my life. He was part of the Salem community,(dinners, his children at Salem school,etc) then St.Paul's. As I was growing up he always had a kind word for me. When I came back to St.Paul's,he and Billie welcomed me back. He will be missed.

Laura said...

The visible response of Doug's community in the last few days is testament to the life he, and Billie, lived:authentic examples of faith-filled living. I feel richer for having had a chance to know Doug, even if for just a short time.

Nan said...

We've known Billie and Doug for 41 years. They welcomed us to St. Paul's 40 years ago when we first made our way to the balcony. We spent time camping together and enjoying an afternoon at the pool as well as many social occasions both at church and at work. I will miss my hugs and that twinkle in his eye as he mercilessly teased me on more than one occasion. He was also the first to compliment for a job well done. Hopefully we will all continue to support Billie and others who need our support as Doug would do for all of us.