Joe Kempter West

Published 4:59 pm Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Joe Kempter West, of Richmond, passed away April 14, 2023. He was born January 27, 1920, in Surry County, Virginia to Mary Gwaltney West and Perry Gwaltney West. In addition to his parents, Kempter was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 67 years, Josie Barrett West; his brother, Melvin Gwaltney West; and a son-in-law, Richard T. Wheeler, Jr. His survivors include a sister, Charlotte West Yates; a brother, Perry Gwaltney West, Jr. and his wife, Gen West; two daughters, Elizabeth “Bette” Barrett West Shiflett and her husband, Pendleton M. Shiflett III and Mary-Elliott West Wheeler. Kempter is also survived by three grandchildren, Richard T. Wheeler III and his wife, Marissa Jeness Wheeler, Philip Barrett Wheeler and his wife, Tyler Hogg Wheeler and Elizabeth Pendleton Shiflett Rouse and her husband, Robert Wilson Rouse, Jr.; and by seven great-grandchildren, Julia Marie Wheeler, Emily Mason Wheeler, Caroline Rollings Wheeler, Ann Kempter Quinn Wheeler, Lillian Barrett Wheeler, Elizabeth Wilk,s Rouse and Robert Wilson Rouse III. 

After graduating from high school in Surry, Virginia, Kempter attended the College of William and Mary. Later, he served his country during World War II as a Master Sergeant in the U.S. Army, stationed in Italy. 

Kempter “Kemp” and his wife, Jo, and their daughters spent many happy years living in Smithfield, Virginia, where he served as Commercial Manager of Home Telephone and Telegraph Company. Due to mergers of Kemp’s company, they also enjoyed living in Emporia, Harrisonburg and Richmond. In 1982, he retired from Continental Telephone Company in Richmond, now Verizon, Inc., where he served as Regional Traffic Manager. 

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Jo and Kemp were members of River Road Church, Baptist. He was also a member of the Richmond Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution and the Jamestowne Society. A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, April 21, in the Old Brick Church Cemetery, Bacon’s Castle, Virginia. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to River Road Church, Baptist.