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Ed Kemp Dies at 61; Remembered as 'Dedicated Public Servant'

The long-time Jefferson County public official had planned to retire at the end of the year following a 40-year career.

Ed Kemp, 61, of Hillsboro, Jefferson County's director of emergency management, died Sunday little more than a month before his planned retirement after a 40-year career in Jefferson County government. 

"Ed was dedicated to the county, probably like nobody else," said Jefferson County Executive Ken Waller. "He was one of the best public servants Jefferson County ever had."

Waller announced Mr. Kemp's death Sunday afternoon, but wasn't certain of the cause.

Arrangements are being made through the Robert D. Brown Funeral Home, Hillsboro, which said there will be no visitation, services or funeral. A spokesman said it was Mr. Kemp's wish to be cremated.

Mr. Kemp was the head of county emergency services, a position he held since December 2010. He had announced plans to retire from the position at the end of the year.

Mr. Kemp previously was a member of the Jefferson County Commission, the executive body that was elected to run the county before a new county charter established a new "county council" form of government. Kemp had been last elected in 2008 to a four-year term.

Chuck Banks served for many years with Mr. Kemp on the Jefferson County Commission.

"Though we didn't always agree, Ed Kemp was a dedicated public servant, and my friend," Banks said. "A crack shot and a quick wit, we shared many laughs, cigars and duck hunts."

When the new county council was installed in 2011, Mr. Kemp assumed the post of director of emergency management. Mr. Kemp also previously served as chairman of the county's 911 board and as a 30-year member of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department. Mr. Kemp also served on the Big River Ambulance District board.

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