Marjory MacEwan ’55 Kempers

On September 21, 2019, Marjory Jean MacEwan Kempers died peacefully in her home in Grand Rapids, Michigan surrounded by family members. Marjory was born in Keyport, New Jersey to John Archibald and Elizabeth Smith MacEwan on November 14, 1933.  Marjory was an energetic, bright young student who played numerous sports, acted in plays and was a student leader at the local Keyport High School.

Marjory decided to attend Hope College where she continued to excel and graduated with high honors in 1955.  While at Hope, Marj met her future husband, David Kempers.  They married in 1955 and then both went on to pursue graduate degrees at the University of Michigan; Marjory received a Masters in Education and David a medical degree.  The couple then went on to establish residence in Grand Rapids where they had two children, David and Karin. Marjory went on to obtain a registered nursing degree in 1976. She was also the president of the Parent Teachers Association at David and Karin’s local grade school.

Marjory loved teaching throughout her working career starting in Willow Run, Ypsilanti and culminating in over twenty five years as a pre-school teacher at Eastminster Presbyterian Church. Marjory particularly loved teaching “the little people” in pre-school and  was always delighted when a prior student would approach her and tell her how much her teaching had meant to the student.  Marjory was a prolific and gifted water colorist.  She particularly excelled at painting landscapes and flowers and exhibited her paintings in a number of showings over the years. Marjory was a devout member of Eastminster and later Westminster Church and acted as an Elder, Deacon and Sunday school and adult program teacher and sat on numerous church committees. She also served on the women’s board at Porter Hills Village.

Marjory was a genuinely exuberant and happy person who brought joy to all those who knew her.  She loved to spend time with friends and family both in Grand Rapids and at the family’s cottage near Holland.  She particularly loved entertaining friends at the annual “tennis parties” at the cottage, which often only involved a modicum of actual tennis.  She had a keen interest in cooking and collected enough cookbooks and recipes to fill a wing of a local library.  She was multi-talented and was always multi-tasking, rarely ever able to sit still for any length of time. She enjoyed playing tennis, skiing, golfing and bicycling.  Throughout her married life, she and her husband traveled extensively throughout the United States and the world and each trip yielded a sketchbook filled with water color images of the sights she experienced.

Marjory was preceded in death by her infant son John, her parents, and her brothers Garrett, Douglas, John Archibald, Jr and Malcom. She is survived by her husband of 64 years, David, son David (Elaine), daughter Karin (John Wharen) and grandchildren Gregory and Erin Kempers.

Return to Current In Memoriam