Some of this will make its way into my uncle’s online obituary, but the best bits are here…
My earliest recollection of Don Kemp (my dad’s brother in law) was at a family holiday at a ski cabin. I was too young to ring in the new year — 1972, maybe? Wow, I’m old… — but I distinctly remember my uncle Don at breakfast the next morning, still wearing a party hat from the night before. It was a papier-mâché job made from a Playboy Playmate centerfold.
Here was a man who had it all. His suburban house had a backyard pool, spiral staircase, finished basement with shag carpeting and a painting of a matador over the fireplace. He and his family were gracious enough to have my family over for Christmas dinners; in summertime there was an open invitation to pop by for a swim.
And while yours truly grew up (a little) and busied himself with the spiritual dead end called show business, my Uncle Don was doing business in China, long before that part of the world was even on my radar. When I did finally make it over there my uncle and I had something we could talk about at length. These are my fondest memories with him — driving uptown to my uncle and aunt’s place to clean out the spam from my uncle’s email, in exchange for a hearty dinner and the chance to hear all about how he was wined and dined by Chinese officials wanting to do business with him. Evenings like this were especially comforting as my own father had recently passed away.
Don himself passed while my better half and I were in Hong Kong last month. His declining strength was apparent, but I didn’t think it would be so soon. I’m grateful that he got to meet my girlfriend. Grateful for the amazing family that is his legacy. Hell, I’m grateful just to have known the man. To call him my uncle has been an honour.