Donald Frederick Kemner, 93, died at his home on Monday, March 27 after months of failing health. He was born in Dunnsville, NY, January 7, 1930, the youngest and last surviving child of John and Dorthea Mortenson Kemner.
Following graduation from Draper High School in Schenectady, Don enlisted in the United States Coast Guard. He served as an enlistee for 14 years, during which time he earned an Engineering degree from the University of Michigan. Subsequently, he was nominated for Officer’s Candidate School in Yorktown. He served during the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis and retired after 31 years due to severe injuries suffered during service in Vietnam, He had earned the rank of Commander but because of injuries he was unable to actively return to duty so retired as Lieutenant Commander.
Don loved the outdoors, especially his time spent hunting in the woods. He and his wife, Katherine, spent 25 summers traveling the U.S. and Canada in their RV. They loved the west and returned to that area every summer and always spent time in their favorite place, Durango, Colorado.
Everyone who knew Don knows how talented and capable he was. There wasn’t anything mechanical or electrical that he wouldn’t tackle. He moved to California after his retirement and drew the plans and built his house all alone, “except for the slate fireplace front and hearth and digging the septic tank” as he would tell anyone.
He was predeceased by his first wife and a daughter, Kathy Whiteman. He’s survived by his wife of nearly 29 years, Katherine, three step-children, Steven and Christopher Martin both of Virginia and Melissa Dunn (Kevin) of Tennessee. Also surviving are 5 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
A funeral service will be held at 12 p.m. noon, on Thursday, March 30, 2023, at the Virginia Veterans Cemetery—Amelia and a memorial service will be held at a later date. There will be no calling hours but friends are welcome to visit at the Kemner home near Keysville. A call ahead would be appreciated.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Shriners’ Hospitals for Children or The Wounded Warrior Project. The Browning Duffer Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.