Ada Elizabeth “Betty” Carter Kemp was a daughter, a friend, a wife, a mother, an aunt, a grandmother, a great-grandmother, a golfer, a gardener, a world traveler, and a follower of Jesus. On Sunday, October 25, 2020, she left our world but joined her many loved ones in heaven. She was 96 years old.
Betty was born on August 25, 1924 at Spohn Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas. Her family lived on Second Street, and from their uptown house, Betty and her brother and sister watched Corpus Christi grow up around them.
Betty was an excellent student and took ballet into her teens. Betty went to CCISD schools, starting at Menger Elementary School and graduating from Corpus Christi High School (now Miller H.S.), and attended Texas State College for Women (now Texas Woman’s University). In the early 1940s, Betty worked as a secretary for the Brown Company at the beginning of the construction of the Naval Air Station. She also worked as a secretary for CCISD in the 1960s and volunteered for several years at Memorial Hospital.
Foster Erwin Kemp was a good friend of Betty’s brother Bud and was a frequent visitor at the Carter home. Betty soon fell for the tall, handsome young man. Always the stubborn and determined girl, Betty ran off to Del Rio in 1943 to marry Foster before he shipped out to the Pacific, much to the consternation of her mother.
After Foster returned from the war, he and Betty lived in Hillcrest before buying their first home in the Oak Park neighborhood of Corpus Christi. Betty and Foster raised three beautiful sons there—Harry, Joe, and Tommy. Betty and Foster were very active in the schools and in youth sports. In 1963, the family moved to Portland, Texas, where Betty lived until her death.
Betty was an early member of First Presbyterian Church in Portland and remained active at the church until its closure in 2017. Betty’s faith was central to her life, and her church family was very important to her.
Betty took up golf when she was 52 years old. She liked to refer to herself as a “golf bum” but she played every week at Gabe Lozano Golf Center or Oso Beach Golf Course (or at both!) and helped run the ladies golf associations at both municipal courses. Betty and Foster were also some of the first members of Northshore Country Club in Portland, and Betty was active with the Northshore Ladies Golf Association. Betty passed on her love of golf to several of her grandchildren and was all of their biggest fan. She continued playing well into her 80s.
Betty loved an adventure and was an avid traveler. She traveled all over the Americas and Europe—to Mexico, Canada, Hawaii, Alaska, the Caribbean, England, Scotland, Ireland, and Scandinavia. Her children and grandchildren would also have you know that Betty was an excellent cook. They have been striving to master her recipes for decades. She will live on in every soft taco they fry. Betty also kept a gorgeous garden. The backyard at Foster and Betty’s Portland home was a colorful and immaculate retreat. Betty loved the quote by Dorothy Frances Gurney that “One is nearer God's heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth.”
Betty was preceded in death by her husband Foster; her parents Harry Norman Carter and Ella Born Wheeler Carter; her brother and sister-in-law Harry “Bud” and Mabel Carter; and her sister and brother-in-law Martha “Doodle” and George Rothrock.
Betty was so proud of her family—they are her greatest legacy. She is survived by her sons Harry (Jeanie) Kemp, Joe (Sharon) Kemp, and Tommy (Debbie) Kemp; her grandchildren Susan (Clay) Scogin, Chris (Jessica) Kemp, Christy (Robert) Duren, Robyn (Darrell) Rivera, Lauren (Wilson) Orr, Megan Kemp (Jake Witherspoon), Kyle (Michelle) Kemp, and Kevin (Timea) Kemp; fourteen great-grandchildren—Sarah (Brandon) Mason, Catherine and Caroline Scogin, Abigail and Molly Duren, Madelynne and Hudson Rivera, Morgan and Corbin Kemp, Elizabeth and Madeline Orr, Ella and Teddy Witherspoon, and Levi Kemp; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family would like to express their special thanks to Sophie Perez, whose loving and doting care of Betty over the last couple years comforted and sustained her. We were never able to top the ribs Sophie would bring for their lunches. The family would also like to thank Lee Johnson, Rachel Aleman, Rita Vasquez, the staff of Pavilion Assisted Living, and Harbor Hospice for their care of Betty.
Graveside services for Betty will be held at Rose Hill Memorial Park at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, October 30, 2020. The family requests that anyone attending please wear a mask out of respect for their fellow mourners.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Betty’s memory can be made to Mission 911 (911 Park Ave., Corpus Christi TX 78401) or the Coastal Bend Food Bank (826 Krill St., Corpus Christi TX 78408).
Arrangements entrusted to Limbaugh Funeral Home 500 Wildcat Dr. Portland Texas 78374. 361-643-6564. www.limbaughfuneralhome.com
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ada Elizabeth (Carter) Kemp, please visit our floral store.