I was born and raised in Columbia and have called it “home” all of my life. Soon after graduating from Hickman, I began working at the University of Missouri-Columbia in the office of Staff Benefits as a secretary and later became assistant supervisor, but left the position after 4.6 years. I then worked for the Soil Conservation Service and Boone County National Bank in secretarial capacities until 1970, when I returned to the University of Missouri-Columbia. I worked for the Director of the Dalton Research Center and moved with my boss to the Graduate School in Jesse Hall in 1974. After my boss accepted another position in California, I worked as Administrative Assistant for the Associate Dean of the Graduate School, Richard L. Wallace, who is the current Chancellor of the University of Missouri-Columbia campus. In 1980, I transferred to the division of Administrative Services and worked as Administrative Assistant for the Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services and after receiving several promotions, I became an Executive Staff Assistant II (serving as office manager in all positions). I feel quite fortunate and honored to have been able to work for three vice chancellors in Administrative Services, and I have wonderful memories and developed many close friends from working there. Working in the Vice Chancellor’s office was the most exciting, rewarding and challenging position I held at the University. After working in the same office for 20 years and having 35+ years of service at the University, I elected to take early retirement on 8/31/2000, with the option of staying on and working 72% FTE for two years, which ended on 8/31/2002.
Other accomplishments through the years:
After taking classes for several semesters, I received certification as a Certified Professional Secretary from the Professional Secretaries International in 1981. I also attended evening business classes at Columbia College from 1983-1985. I took off from taking evening classes during the winter semesters and worked on genealogy research (a passion of mine).
In 1985, I completed typing and editing a book entitled “Kemper Genealogy 1435-1985,” consisting of 102 pages (with index) which was written and compiled by my mother, Mildred (Rader) Kemper, and I, which provided information on my direct ancestors, and most Kemper descendants and relatives in Boone County, MO (on my father’s side of the family). Several years later, I compiled another book (177 pages) on my great-great-grandfather, Harrison B. Jones (on my mother’s side of the family), which contained a lot of research information and many wonderful stories that have been carried down through the years in my family, including excerpts from his hand-written diary of the trip he made by wagon train during the California Gold Rush in 1850.
In the late 1980’s I learned to country line dance, and along with other friends (including the instructors that taught me to dance, also friends), we performed at several of our annual Administrative Services’ Picnics (with over 500 attendees), as well as at other events, towns, and at Columbia Mall. Country dancing is a great way to exercise and keep your body in shape, as well as a way to enjoy country music. Charley Blackmore served as DJ at several of our annual Administrative Services’ picnics and tailgate parties.
In 2001, while working 72% FTE and having lots more time on my hands, I started my own small home floral business (a talent I consider as a real gift from God). For the most part, my job, the last 20 years, was mostly my whole “life” -- I was always known as a workaholic. While I always considered my twin sister, Marilyn Kemper Sunderland, the artistic one (and she still is), this new found talent of mine was a very rewarding and creative diversion from all the years I spent in an office environment. In 2002, I purchased a digital camera, and I have enjoyed learning more about digital photography and communicating with clients by sending preview pictures of floral designs they have ordered, as well as taking many, many pictures of all my flower gardens at my home in the Blueridge area of Columbia. I have done several craft shows, and recently did floral designs for a large wedding (all silk flowers) in May of this year.
I have attended all of our Hickman High School class reunions (it’s hard to believe that this will be our 40th reunion), and I look forward to seeing everyone again. This reunion would not be possible if it were not for all the hard work that Charley Blackmore does for us. Be sure and give him your thanks for doing such an outstanding job.