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John C. Kemp, 92, longtime corrections officer at Wende
June 26, 1916 -- Oct. 17, 2008

John C. Kemp, considered the first African-American corrections officer at Wende Correctional Facility, died Friday in Niagara Lutheran Home after a lengthy illness. He was 92.

Born in Sandersville, Ga., Mr. Kemp moved to Buffalo with his family as a child and was educated in Buffalo Public Schools.

He left high school to join the Army during World War II and served in the European Theater from 1941 to 1944.

After the war, Mr. Kemp earned his equivalency diploma and studied at Canisius College.

He worked for 40 years at Wende, until his retirement in the early 1980s.

An avid sportsman, Mr. Kemp once competed as a Golden Gloves boxer and was a certified basketball referee for The Chapel and Buffalo Public Schools.

He was a member of Paramount Lodge 73, Free & Accepted Masons, and held the offices of grand patron and grand worthy patron of the State of New York and Jurisdiction.

Surviving are his wife of 41 years, the former Evelyn DeWalt, and two daughters, Alicia D. Givens and Joan Gray.

His funeral will be at noon today in Faith Missionary Baptist Church, 626 Humboldt Parkway. A wake will begin at 10:30, followed by Masonic services at 11:30.


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