Jane Elmira Mullen Kempf, loving wife of the late Peter Kempf Jr. and mother extraordinaire to Peter Albert, Jan, Rich and Jeff passed peacefully at her Auburn Indiana home on October 11, 2019, just two weeks after her 92nd birthday. Jane was born in Yeadon, Pennsylvania to Albert and Alice Mullen and is survived by her younger sister Beverly Shellenbarger. Jane spent her youth in and around Philadelphia where she met a handsome sailor just home from the South Pacific who was attending the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business. After a first date that ended with Pete giving her a dime for a solo bus trip home (it was his LAST dime), a second date had better results and they married when Jane was 20. Jane and Pete, with Peter and baby Jan in tow came west to Auburn where “daddy” joined Albert in business. Rich and Jeff and innumerable little league baseball games soon followed.
As the kids got a bit older Jane started a work/life journey remarkable for its variety, talent and creativity. She became the News Director and disc jockey of Auburn’s then fledgling WIFF radio station and then transitioned to City Editor of the Auburn Evening Star for 8 years. She later worked as a paralegal for Warren Sunday, a research surveyor for the University of Michigan, communications director for City National Bank and completed her banking career in Media Relations for Lincoln Financial in Ft. Wayne. She started a column, Potpourri, when she joined the Evening Star, and it continued for 31 years. She wrote what she wanted-but her stories and contemplations where consistently kind, thoughtful and direct. She was a wonderful writer. The recipes she included in her column - begged, borrowed and stolen from family and friends - became the start of what became 4 cookbooks she published - full of nutritional information gathered at Purdue, helpful hints and even, what she claimed, was bad poetry—it was really pretty good! After designing her new home at “the farm” and not one to sit idle, Jane became a painter of note whose works adorn many a local wall and serve as the cover art for special notes, cards and bookmarks. We all have much to remind us of this woman.
Jane was a woman of boundless strength and love. She recently said with a twinkle in her eye that while her contemporaries have mostly passed on - their kids come to see her— it’s both true and a testament to Jane. Her kid’s friends, her work mates, the women who helped with her house, her bridge partners (better bring your A game) and everyone who took the time to know her were repaid in spades. She touched them all with her generosity of spirit and hearty laugh. Her daughters-in-law Barb, Colleen, Martha and Donna, and her grandkids Peter, Jeffrey, Tycius, Logan, Jeffrey Brosius, Michelle, Emma, Attie and Hannah and their assorted spouses are all better people for having known Jane and witnessing her spirit that lives on in each of them. Jane also had 4 great grandchildren. Her family thanks all of you who visited, called and sent their love over the years and even in the last few weeks and days. She was sharp and in good humor until the end— and her laugh, diminished in strength perhaps, was freely given. We will miss her.
Jane’s memorial service will be held on Saturday, October 19 at 11:00 AM at the Auburn Presbyterian Church where Jane was a member since adopting Auburn 67 years ago. A private burial service will follow at a later date. Memorial donations may be made to the Jane Elmira Mullen Kempf Communications Scholarship Fund though the DeKalb County Foundation or the Auburn First Presbyterian Church.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.fellerandclark.com.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Feller and Clark Funeral Home in Auburn.
To send flowers to Jane's family, please visit our floral section.