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Thursday, August 13, 2020

Living History: Paul Kemper

Muscatine Living

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Bickford of Muscatine
Bickford of Muscatinehttps://www.bickfordseniorliving.com/branch/bickford-of-muscatine
There is no higher calling, no greater purpose than that of a caregiver. Somehow, we’ve come to believe that caregiving is just for some of us and not all of us. Yet at our core, we are all made to love, to connect, to extend ourselves in service of others. The question is ... do we have the will to love, to do what it takes, to risk ourselves in caring, even when the burden is great? In times of happiness, in times of sadness - we are that caregiver.

The fourth of nine children, Paul Kemper had a lively childhood growing up with his two brothers and six sisters. Kemper grew up on a farm in rural Muscatine County near Wildcat Den State Park. Kemper later purchased the farm and lived their with his wife, Joyce Ogilvie, and their two children.

A successful farmer, Kemper grew crops and raised both cattle and hogs. He especially remembers the time he spent raising tomatoes for the Heinz Factory in Muscatine. Kemper rented a plot of land between the Mississippi River and Pine Creek Grist Mill in Wildcat Den State Park, which proved well suited to growing high quality tomatoes. When the harvest came in, he helped pick the tomatoes by hand and load them onto delivery trucks to take them into town. He remembers,” I would schedule a load at 10 p.m. and turn around and have another truck there ready for the next load at 2 a.m.,” adding, “I lost a lot of sleep during those times.”

In the winters, while his fields lay dormant, Kemper assisted one of his friends by working at a feed mill in Buffalo. There, Kemper would fill bags with feed, sew them shut, and help load them up into trucks and train cars for shipping by road and rail. Whether on his farm or at the mill, Kemper welcomed the variety of work he did in each season. Over the years, Kemper always took pleasure in his duties and never grew bored with any of his work.

After many years on the farm, Kemper retired and moved to Bickford Senior Living. In his retirement, Kemper found himself inside the Muscatine City limits for the first time in his life. He enjoys having more free time to spend with his family and getting to go golfing at the different courses in Muscatine. Since coming to Bickford, Kemper has made himself quite comfortable and loves his new home. “I like living here though–everyone is so nice and helpful and you really can just do what you want,” he shared.

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