John B. Kempfer, age 83, of Highlands Ranch, Colorado and formerly of Baker City, passed away on October 8, 2019. Recitation of the Rosary will be held at 10:00 A.M. on Wednesday, October 16, 2019 at St. Francis de Sales Cathedral followed by Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 AM. Father Suresh Kumar Telagani will officiate. Interment will be at Mt. Hope Cemetery following the service.
John Bernard Kempfer was born in Baker City, Oregon to parents Charles and Margaret Kempfer. He grew up surrounded by many family members, whom he talked of fondly through the many stories he told of his upbringing. He was proud of his Belgium/Catholic heritage. His childhood included his dog Pedro, becoming a brother to sister Charlene, playing kick the can, participating in numerous pick up games of baseball, milking cows, feeding chickens and of course, family gatherings and church. Then there was his newspaper route, collecting metals during World War II, a part time job at Basche-Sage Hardware - assembling LOTS of bikes for Christmas, and some time working in the lumber mill.
He attended St. Francis Academy for all but freshman year of high school, when he ventured to Baker High. He told many tales from those days, including learning Latin and theology, altar serving, and participating in lots of sports. He graduated in 1954 – and still has his letterman sweater – pins and all! He went on to attend Gonzaga University, receiving a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1961.
John began his engineering career with the City of Baker working on multiple municipal projects. On his final visit to Baker in 2016, he pointed to his old office, and we drove down many streets he constructed and paved. Upon graduation from Gonzaga, he worked at the City of Los Angeles where he was proud to say he worked on the building of Dodger Stadium. He then moved on to other construction and engineering firms working on several residential projects. Thousands of people now live in housing developments he was a part of in both California and Colorado. He was hired by Mobil Land & Development in 1981 where he worked on the first project that he got to see from start to finish – Stonegate in Parker, Colorado. He retired in 1995.
While John played many sports in his life, baseball was his favorite. An avid fan, he also played, coached and managed teams at various times through out his life. He talked of bus trips from town to town to play ball. He was part of the Senior Softball League in Aurora, Colorado, even winning a few state championships.
He is survived by daughters Linda Enloe (Don) and Patricia Kempfer (John Kilgore); granddaughter Christina Enloe; sister Charlene Gardner; also nieces, nephews, friends and teammates.
Mr. Kempfer is preceded in death by son John B. Kempfer Jr., and grandsons Christopher and Christian.
Donations can be made in his name to Porter Hospice Residence, 5020 East Arapahoe Road, Centennial, CO 80122.
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