Obituaries » Dolores Powers Kemple

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Dolores Powers Kemple

September 8, 1938 - January 22, 2022

Burial Date January 27, 2022

Funeral Home Thomas Poteet & Sons Funeral Home

Church St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church

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Dolores Powers Kemple, beloved wife of the late William J. “Bill” Kemple, died Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in her daughter’s home after a vigorous, years long battle with congestive heart failure. She was 83 years old.
Dolores loved politics, family games, cruises, German Shepherds, fillet mignon, Manhattans, bridge, tennis, toasts, beach trips, parades, family games, Judge Judy, Broadway musicals, Johnny Mathis, anything Irish, and singing and dancing anywhere, anytime – including in the kitchen with her favorite partner Bill. Her ultimate passion was listening to and telling family stories. One always led to another, and the stories grew more spectacular over the years. Dolores Eleanor Powers was born in New York City on Sept. 8, 1938, the only child of Beatrice and Francis Powers. She was adored and nurtured by a large and loving Irish Catholic family. She was the seventh generation of traditional Irish step-dancers in her family – an art passed on to her by her grandfather – John “Jack” Barron – dancemaster of County Limerick. Dolores was one of hundreds of Professor Barron’s pupils across five boroughs of New York form the 1930s through the ’50s. She went on to become a teacher alongside her grandparents, aunt and mother and taught her own children the intricate jigs and reels that were hundreds of years old. She later started her own Irish dancing school in Hastings on Hudson.
Dolores attended grammar school at St. Brendan’s Parish in Bronx, N.Y., and graduated from Sacred Heart Academy high school in 1956. After two years at Marymount College, she transferred to New York University where she received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Her first job was working in sales and marketing for Philco, an electronics and appliance manufacturer.
She met the love of her life Bill while they were both in college. He was a dashing advertising sales agent with his own car and an expense account that allowed him to take Dolores along on client dinners and nightclub outings throughout Manhattan.
Because she promised her father not to get engaged until after she received her degree, and not to get married until she had worked a full year, Dolores and Bill got engaged the day after her college graduation, on May 30, 1960, and wed exactly one year later. They had three children in six years. Dolores was a devoted and creative mother, who, with the vigor of Maria Von Trapp, provided an endless stream of fun and educational activities for her children. She volunteered in their schools and sacrificed her own career to stay home with them. Bill and Dolores were active in local and state politics. They were Young Republicans in New York, and Dolores was a Goldwater Girl, part a troupe of women who campaigned for Barry Goldwater’s presidential bid. A full-page photo of her famously fabulous legs in a sequin-trimmed skirt and Goldwater garter was printed in LIFE magazine in 1964.
Bill’s work in radio and TV advertising sales took the family to Richmond, Va., in 1972, where Dolores opened her second Irish dancing school. The Barron Irish Step Dancers performed in cultural festivals and were the highlight of many a St. Patrick’s Day party. She was a member of the International Dance Club of Richmond.
The Kemple family moved to Augusta, Ga. in 1976, settling in West Lake where Dolores joined a tennis team and a bridge group and became part of a close community of other mothers who remained dear friends their whole lives. Dolores and her daughters continued to do Irish dancing – giving local performances and appearing multiple times on WRDW-TV’s Midday program. With her children in middle and high school, she returned to the workforce as an administrative secretary in the Psychiatry Department at MCG. She later sold copy machines and printers. Soon after she became a certified hearing aid specialist with Beltone, a career which led her and Bill to open their own business – Hearing Aid Associates in 1986. They sold the business and retired in 2008.
Dolores deeply loved her Catholic faith and was an active parishioner throughout her lifetime. At St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church, she worked as a secretary and served as a lector, choir member and CCD teacher.
Dolores was a defender of the protection of all life, especially the unborn. She died on the day of the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., as her mother did in 1977. Her birth date, Sept. 8, is traditionally remembered as the birthday of Mary, Mother of Jesus, and she was named Dolores after the Seven Sorrows of Mary.
She spent her final years at Claiborne Assisted Living Community, where she formed friendships with many fellow storytellers and bridge players. Dolores is survived by three children: Christopher William Kemple, and his wife Leah; Elizabeth Kemple Adams; Kelsey Kemple Schmidt and her husband Frank; and 16 grandchildren: Shawn, Justin, Brendan and Kevin Kemple; Thomas and Elliot Adams; and Frank Patrick, Clare, John Paul, Catherine, Hope, Peter, Andrew, Bridget, Trinity, and Michelle Schmidt. Dolores and Bill were married for 55 years, and she’ll be delighted to dance with him again. Please lift a glass to this fabulous wife, mother, and friend.
A Rosary service will be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 26, at St. Teresa Catholic Church, 4921 Columbia Road. The family will visit with friends afterward from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at St. Teresa.
In lieu of flowers or other memorials, the family would appreciate a gift to one of Dolores’ favorite charities: Golden Harvest Food Bank or the Priests Retirement Fund of the Diocese of Savannah. Thomas Poteet & Son Funeral Directors, 214 Davis Rd., Augusta, GA 30907 (706) 364-8484. Please sign the guestbook at www.thomaspoteet.com