Obituary and Condolences

Robert "Bob" L. Kemp

December 19, 1928 January 20, 2018
Robert "Bob" L. Kemp
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Obituary for Robert "Bob" L. Kemp

Robert Lee Kemp, 89, formerly of Waterloo, Iowa, passed away on January 20, 2018 surrounded by loving family at Atrium Village in Hills, Iowa.

Robert graduated from West High School in Waterloo in 1947. He received his B.A. from the University of N. Iowa and a Masters in communications from the University of Iowa in 1961. From 1963-65 he pursued advanced studies in education at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He taught English at West High in Waterloo, served as director of forensics at Cedar Falls High School, and was assistant professor of communications studies at the University of Iowa from 1966-94. He published numerous books and articles including Lincoln-Douglas Debate (1984), Leadership Manual (1988), Enhancing Quality of Life for Senior Citizens (1988), Critical Thinking (1990), “Media Creation of Issues in the 1988 Campaign” (1988), among others.

Robert was active as a debate coach and debate instructor throughout his career and influenced many state and national leaders in politics and the law. His courses, many of which he initiated, included Mass Media, Fundamentals of Speech, Rhetoric and Politics, Parliamentary Procedure, Communication and Public Affairs, Ballads and Folklore, and Interpersonal Communications.

His professional positions and activities included Director of Forensics at U of I, Chairman of the Iowa High School Forensics League, Director of Iowa Summer High School Speech and Debate School, and coordinator and director of the KCRG/WMT televised debate series. He was also active for decades in many capacities with the Democratic Party in Iowa.

He traveled widely and taught speech in Malaysia for a year. He also spent extended work/holidays in Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, and England. He and wife Christine were extremely popular with the many friends and family who visited them during these extended sojourns.

He served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force from 1951-55.

Robert loved fishing, tennis, bridge, Iowa basketball, travel, epic holiday gatherings, and treating grandchildren to ice cream. He passed his father’s steadfast devotion to the Chicago Cubs on to all children and grandchildren, without exception.

He is survived by wife Christine; children Stephen and Valerie; stepchildren Meaghan Houska, David and Lisa Ryan, and five grandchildren: Bailey, Caitlin, Ellie, Johanna, and Sam. He will be remembered for his kindness, generosity, happy-disposition, harsh work ethic, and refusal to complain about anything (or allow such whingy behavior in others).

The family wishes to thank the staff of Atrium Village for their compassionate and professional care. A Celebration of Life will be held for Robert Lee Kemp on April 21 at 11:00 a.m. at Lensing Funeral Home at 605 Kirkwood Avenue. A luncheon will be held at The Kirkwood Room, 515 Kirkwood Avenue, immediately following the service. All friends of Robert and family are welcome to attend.

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11:00 AM 4/21/2018 11:00:00 AM
Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service -- Iowa City

605 Kirkwood Avenue
Iowa City, IA 52240

Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service -- Iowa City
605 Kirkwood Avenue Iowa City 52240 IA
United States

Memorial Contribution


505 Fifth Ave., #901
Des Moines, IA 50309

University of Iowa Foundation: U of I Dept of Communication Studies

PO Box 4550
Iowa City, IA 52244

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