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Joseph Kemper West


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Joseph Kemper West passed away January 13, 2021 with his children at his side in Fort Worth, Texas. He is survived by his wife Betty West, son Ramon West and his wife Christine, daughter Candace Compton and her husband Craig, and grandchildren Ella Marie and Emory Moses. He was preceded in death by his mother Dale Derrick. He will be dearly missed by his family and many friends.

Joe, or “Kemper” to many, was born March 22, 1942 to his loving mother Pershing Dale Burden in Kirkland Washington. Shortly after his birth, Dale and Kemper moved to Blair, Oklahoma to be near the family farm. When he was a young boy they moved again, this time to Hagerman, New Mexico where Kemper thrived, grew up, and graduated from Hagerman High School in 1960. A love of Hagerman and the surrounding community stayed in his heart for the rest of his life. In 1958, his commitment to service was recognized when he was awarded the honor of Eagle Scout by the Governor of Santa Fe.

After High School, he attended New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, NM for his Freshman and Sophomore years of college. There he learned the discipline and structure that would serve him well in his future endeavors. He enlisted in the Navy in June 1963 where he served four years active duty at the US Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, Japan during the Vietnam war. Upon discharge in 1967, he married Virginia Lynn Welborne and continued his studies at Southwestern Oklahoma State University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree in 1971. He was the recipient of The Rexall Award for outstanding achievement and for his Instituting a drug abuse program at the College.

In 1973, Kemper moved his young family to Lubbock, TX and took a position as the Director of Pharmacy at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine. That year he also joined the Army Reserves and continued to dutifully serve for years retiring as a Lt. Colonel in 1997. As a reservist, he was again called to active duty in 1990 during Desert Storm. He felt a deep sense of responsibility to his country and was always ready to serve as needed.

In 1980 Kemper took a position as Director of Pharmacy for St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Worth, TX. He opened WWB Health Care Associates and IV Medco Home Infusion in 1989. He retired in 2007 but returned in 2010-2015 to cover their El Paso MHMR Pharmacy management. He loved his work and helped in the management of many hospital pharmacies as well as assisting countless people with their home health care needs.

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Kemper married Betty Anderson Starnes in 1999. He and Betty were incredibly happy together traveling, loving their dogs, and spending time with family and friends. Both were active members of the Lighthouse Fellowship Methodist Church in Lake Worth, TX. There he participated in Sunday School, Men’s Ministry, the Fall Festival. He served a term as Board Chair of the church school and was involved in as many other church initiatives as he could find. He is the only man in the church given honorary membership in the United Methodist Women’s Organization.

Kemper loved football, westerns, reading, country music, trying to catch fish, stacked enchiladas, and spending time with his family. He had an easy laugh, warm smile, and was loved and respected by family, friends, and business associates alike. He was immensely proud of his kids and grandchildren and was happy to brag on them given the chance.

A memorial service will be held on February 1, 2021, at the Aria Funeral Home in Irving, TX, followed by burial in the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery for veterans.

In lieu of flowers the family would prefer a donation to the Department of Veteran Affairs.

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