Shelbyville Daily Union


September 4, 2013

Joseph "Joe" C. Kempe

SHELBYVILLE, IL. — Joseph "Joe" C. Kempe


Joseph "Joe" C. Kempe, 94, formerly of Nokomis & Gillespie, died September 1, 2013 at Shelbyville Rehabilitation and Health Care. 

He was born July 10, 1919 in DeSoto, MO to Ernest and Hazel Kempe. Joe worked as a printer and proofreader and in his younger years he traveled from city to city as a "tramp printer" at area newspapers. He later worked for St. Louis Post Dispatch until his retirement. Joe had a unique sense of humor and for several years published a humor magazine called BLIP (Brave Little Impossible Publication) which was mailed all over the United States. He was a co founder of the "Bottomleg-Ruffing-Schalk Baseball Museum" in Nokomis, IL. He worked many long hours in this endeavor and was very proud to have had a part in seeing it grow. Joe married Oka Sands Wicker in December of 1963. 

He leaves sons Eugene (Betty) of Livingston, Texas and Joseph Kempe Jr. of Chandler, Arizona, niece Kathy Smalling of Decatur, step daughter in law, Karen Clausen of Assumption, several grandchildren and great grandchildren. Joe was preceded in death by his step son, Charles Clausen, nephew, Jerry Smalling, sister, Mary Louise Cheatham, and brother Ernest Kempe. 

Joe's body was donated to science at his request. There will be no services. Memorials may be given in his honor to the Baseball Museum in Nokomis and should be sent to Kravanya Funeral Home for delivery. The family would like to thank the staff at Shelbyville Rehabilitation and Health Care for the excellent care and kindness they have shown Joe for the past two and a half years. Kravanya Funeral Home is in charge.

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