Thomas E. Kemp Jr. passed from this life March 27, 2019 on his 59th birthday after developing complications from the flu. He was born March 27, 1960 in Ada, Oklahoma to Thomas Elwood and Gloria Mazzolini Kemp. Tom grew up in Ada where he attended St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School. He graduated from Ada High School in 1978. He attended the University of Oklahoma where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi and obtained a degree in accounting and business in 1982. He also became a certified public accountant shortly thereafter. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma School of Law in 1985 and then obtained a Masters’ of Law in Tax from Southern Methodist University. Tom was in the private practice of law in Norman until he was tapped to serve as General Counsel of the Oklahoma Tax Commission in 1997.
Tom’s dedication to his community and strong work ethic led to his appointment as a Commissioner of the Oklahoma Tax Commission in 2001 by Governor Frank Keating and he served for many years as its Chairman. He was reappointed in 2007 by Governor Brad Henry and again in 2013 by Governor Mary Fallin. Tom served the State in that role until his death. Tom had a servant’s heart and was proud of all that he helped to accomplish during this tenure. All who worked with Tom or called upon him knew he maintained an open-door policy where he was easily accessible to taxpayers, his colleagues and others who needed his advice.
Tom inherited his father’s love for all things OU from attending OU football games with his parents and siblings in his early years. Later, as a resident of Norman, he was a constant presence at OU athletic events and often traveled for games. He continued to support his Beta Theta Pi Fraternity as a dedicated alumnus. Many of his high school friends and fraternity brothers remained his best friends throughout his life.
Tom was an avid golfer, although his enthusiasm for the game often out-matched his ability. Searching for errant balls was just part of the enjoyment of a round, no matter where he played. Few, other than family, know of his true talent as a self-taught pianist. He regularly entertained his family by playing his favorite songs, his piano music often filling his home. His passion for travel began at an early age, piling in the family station wagon for trips to Missouri. Enduring memories were created with regular trips with his parents and siblings, and later with his own family, to the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego and Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. The days before his death were spent with his family enjoying the fresh snow in Vail, Colorado.
If true love is worth the wait, then Ashley was Tom’s prize. He accepted her family as his own, and Tom loved and adored Alex and Megan. Their son Tommy was a joyous addition, and Tom relished his role as father, playmate, coach, and mentor. His children were his pride and joy and will continue as his legacy.
Tom was a member of St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church. His dedication to his faith and family shall forever be an example for all to follow. He was preceded in passing by his father, Thomas Elwood Kemp. Those left to cherish his memories include: his wife, Ashley Kemp; children, Alexander Williams, Megan Williams, and Thomas E. Kemp III; mother, Gloria Kemp and her husband Paul Rogers; brother, Jim Kemp, his wife Lorrie and their children, Brandon, Ross, Katy and Emily; brother, Mike Kemp; sister, Liz Brown, her husband Ron and their children, son, Matt, his wife Ryanne, and their children Michael and Daniel, daughter, Lauren Warner and her husband, Eric and son, Andy Brown; sister, Sue Hanna, her husband Gary, and their daughter, Casey, husband Ryan and their son, Ford; sister, Mary Milsten, her husband, Marc and their children, Jennifer, Hailey and Erin. He is also survived by a host of loving extended family and friends.
The viewing will begin at 3:00 p.m. at Havenbrook Funeral Home in Norman on Friday March 29th, with a Rosary Service following at 5:00 p.m., and with the Wake and eulogies/remembrances beginning at 6:00 p.m. The funeral mass will take place on Saturday, March 30, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Mark The Evangelist Catholic Church, with the burial following at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery. Tom was a type 1 diabetic and the family would suggest that, in lieu of gifts or flowers, donations instead be made either to the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, St. Mark’s Catholic Church or a charity of the donor’s choosing made in Tom’s honor.
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