Frederick Kemman

Frederick Kemman

Friday, July 22nd, 1966 Thursday, December 8th, 2022
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1. Scope

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Where applicable, when you interact with other Users on the Site, you may provide other information about yourself, such as political or topical views, religious affiliation, or marital status. Any information in a public forum is accessible by anyone, including people who are not members of the Site. Please be aware they may share information you give them with other Users you may not know. They may also share the information outside the Site without your prior approval. Company does not have control over the actions of its Users and accepts no responsibility or liability for their actions. Please keep this fact in mind when using the Site, and use care when disclosing Personal Information to other Users of the Site.

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Company shares your Personal Information with third parties when it believes you have permitted such sharing, that it is reasonably necessary to offer services, or when legally required to do so. Company will not share your Personally Identifiable Information with third parties in a way that it thinks violates your privacy. The following non-exhaustive list contains examples of how Company shares or could share your information:

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  4. There are also times when Company may make certain Personal Information about you available to strategic partners or third parties. These companies may help Company process information, render services to you, manage and enhance customer data, provide customer service, assess your interest in products and services, or conduct research or satisfaction surveys. Without such information being made available, it would be difficult for you to use Company's Site and services.

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Company may be sold, sell or buy businesses or assets of businesses, or merge with another business. In such transactions, Personal Information generally is one of the transferred business assets. Also, in the event that Company, a line of business of Company, or substantially all the assets of Company are transferred, Personal Information may well be one of the transferred assets. Company will make a reasonable effort to provide notice on the Site, and to notify you via e-mail to the most recent e-mail address that you have provided of any such change in ownership or control of your personal information.

9. Miscellaneous

  1. Privacy of Children


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  2. Agreement with Policy and Continued Use of Site

    Unless stated otherwise, Company’s current Policy applies to all information that Company has about you, your account, and access to the Site. By using the Site, you consent to this Policy and having your Personal Information and data transferred and processed as described.


Obituary for Frederick Barnes Kemman

Please share your favorite memory of Frederick to be included in a special keepsake book for the family.
Frederick Barnes Kemman
Obituary – December 17, 2022

Frederick Barnes Kemman had a soul full of sunshine and a heart full of mirth. Though quiet and shy at times, when roused to display his eclectic sense of humor Fred unleashed a booming voice resonant with the pleasantly raucous spirit of his New Jersey ancestors. Fred fine-tuned his quick wit through frequent conversations with his mother, Ruth. As he liked to say: “I learned at the feet of the master.” Though often irreverent and a good-natured jokester, Fred felt deeply for others and never hesitated to lend a hand or offer a kind word. It is difficult to imagine a world without Fred Kemman's sweet and vibrant presence to smooth life's rough edges. Alas, Fred's soul left this realm on Thursday, December 8, 2022, at 5:25 a.m., at Berkeley Medical Center, Martinsburg, West Virginia. Fred's death followed unexpected bleeding related to an emergency medical intervention. His wife, Gretchen, and son, James (Jake), were by his side.

Born July 22, 1966, in Silver Spring, Maryland where he grew up, Fred was the third and last child of Ruth Winifred Rule Kemman born in Princeton, New Jersey (near Kingston) in 1929 and of the late James Hugo (Jim) Kemman, born in Altoona, Pennsylvania in 1937. Fred enjoyed a happy childhood on Southwood Avenue with his older sister, Janet, by his side. The family took frequent trips to the seashore in Manasquan, New Jersey to visit maternal grandparents and other family members. They also visited paternal grandparents and an aunt in Merion, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, and gathered with them and other relatives and friends at a family farm near Hawk Mountain. On occasion, Ruth, Janet, and Fred accompanied Jim on his travels for his work as an electronics engineer. As a young teenager, Fred worked beside his father as a volunteer for the National Capital Trolley Museum in Colesville. Interesting pets graced the lives of the Kemmans, and Fred learned a lot by observation. Some friends recognized Fred's special charm with recalcitrant canines, calling him Dr. Dolittle in jest. And certain family members, observing Fred's astute interpretations of feline behavior and the special bonds he formed, thought of Fred as a “cat whisperer.”

Encouraged by his mother, Fred learned to read before attending school, and early in life he developed a deep and abiding love for the written word. Fred spent many hours enjoying good books: classics, science fiction, and history, among other genres, and he sometimes felt inspired to write his own stories and poems. During Fred's elementary school years, he participated in a model French immersion program founded by Gabriel Jacobs in 1974 in Montgomery County, Maryland. Thus, at his neighborhood's Four Corners Elementary School, Fred acquired a perfect Parisian accent. Despite limited opportunities after age 10 to converse in his second language, Fred loved to surprise by bursting into French, especially when he had reason to believe a listener might comprehend and respond in turn.

As a boy, Fred rode his bicycle for many hours at a stretch, and he continued this pastime into young adulthood with his beautiful Vista “Silver Shadow,” which he recently had restored in a Martinsburg shop. For a period in boyhood, Fred delivered the Washington Star newspaper while riding an earlier bicycle. Fred loved to play baseball and softball and had a good throwing arm, perhaps inherited from his Kemman ancestors who possibly include Fred Herbert (born Herbert Frederick Kemman), who pitched for the New York Giants in 1915.

While at Northwood High School, Fred joined the band and became reasonably accomplished at the alto saxophone. A favorite of his from the time was “hillbilly saxophonist” Boots Randolph's “Yakety Sax” album, including the title song most people now know as “The Benny Hill Theme.” We are left to wonder whether Fred knew of Randolph's deep connection with his father's, Jim's, favorite guitarist Chet Atkins. Talking of this connection would have inspired Fred to hearty laughter. Perhaps playing saxophone kindled Fred's life-long love affair with blues and jazz: comedic, contradictory, intellectual, and poignant, his preferred sound track for much of life. His friend Timothy's inscription in Fred's 1984 yearbook says it all: “Keep playing the sax man, 'cause you got the blues in your soul.”

After graduating from Northwood in 1984, Fred attended the television production program at Montgomery College while working full-time as a service writer for Hill and Sanders Ford in Wheaton. In 1989, Fred became a part-time production technician at Montgomery Community Television in Rockville, and a full-time editor by 1993. Creative and capable, Fred served as technical director for the Emmy-nominated public affairs program News Counterpoint. In 1995, The Society of Professional Journalists, Washington Professional Chapter, awarded Fred's production, “Skydiving,” the Dateline Award for Local Journalism Excellence in the features category. During these busy years, Fred spent his spare time with friends, enjoying life and honing his skills as an amateur automobile mechanic, alongside his good friend Russell J. (Rusty) Witte, skills which would serve him well throughout life.

While with Honeywell Technical Services, Inc. at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA TV), from 1996 through 2007, Fred won Telly awards for Editing and Effects for “The Promise of Rain” 2002 and “Degrees of Uncertainty” 2002. Fred also served as photographer, producer, troubleshooter, and systems administrator. His voice may be heard narrating some segments of these works.

Fred would want it to be noted he performed plenty of physical work in his life, including long overnights steam cleaning restaurant carpets. While a young man living on Southwood Avenue, Fred helped keep the home's high gutters clear of oak leaves. Years later subsequent residents found Fred's Northwood class ring on the ground near the house where, evidently, it had slipped from his hand while he worked, and they returned it to him. One source of the abundant leaves, an ancient sentinel oak in front of the Southwood house, in more recent years provided the wood (thanks to Rusty's efforts when he discovered it had been felled) for a poignant sculpture Fred lovingly carved by hand for an art class assignment. Though not the type to go camping or fishing often, even though he savored the outdoors, a favorite tale of Fred's indicates he knew enough lore to catch and prepare his own breakfast. For a period he also enjoyed cooking creatively and baking bread from scratch, as his mother had done in his childhood. More recently, Fred became skilled at cooking outdoors in a wok, using a propane burner. Over the past seven years, he used a chainsaw, splitting maul, ax and his own muscle power to prepare many cords of wood for heating his house. For over a decade, about once a week during the late spring and summer months, you could find Fred mowing lawns, his own and his parents-in-law's next door. Over two decades or so, Fred designed and built two bookcases, a bench, five workbenches, many shelves, and two sturdy bunkbed sets, most of which you would observe should you visit his home.

During the Christmas season of 1995, before leaving to spend the holidays at his parents' home in Indiana, Fred gave Gretchen a sweater, a watch, and an unusual novel by Abigail Stone entitled “Recipes from the Dump.” In his dignified, slightly humorous, and quiet way, Fred won Gretchen's heart for keeps. On November 22, 1996, Frederick married Gretchen at the courthouse in Frederick, Maryland, in the presence of friends and family, including Fred's sister, Janet, and Gretchen's daughters, Meghan and Emily. Fred embraced his new responsibilities and did his best for Gretchen, as well as for her girls whom he loved as his own children. In February of 1999, Fred's son, James (Jake), arrived, adding to the family's joy.

In July of 2007, with his father gravely ill, Fred took a leave of absence from Honeywell for a temporary move to Newburgh, Indiana, taking Gretchen and Jake with him. Sadly, Jim died before they arrived but the trio pressed on, determined to help Fred's mom. To extend his stay in Newburgh, Fred relinquished his position with Honeywell. For this period, Gretchen worked full-time while Fred took charge of Jake's education, and the two made many close and delightful friends through homeschooling activities. Over the years, Fred also supported Jake through archery, Little League, Cub Scouts, martial arts, music lessons, and Civil Air Patrol. During their time in Indiana, Fred and Jake began volunteering each spring for Work Week on the WWII era LST 325 ship docked in Evansville, Indiana, a connection made through Jim Kemman's interests, and a tradition they continued through Jake's eighteenth year by making it their vacation.

In early 2009, Fred moved his family to Martinsburg so he and Gretchen could be near her parents and other family. Unable to find work in television, Fred attended James Rumsey Technical Institute and earned his Class A Commercial Driver's License in March 2010. After working long and hard hours as a truck driver for several companies, including seven years for Coca Cola, in early 2022, Fred found true happiness driving for Barr-Nunn Transportation of Granger, Iowa. Finally, Fred had his own “office,” a sleeper cab complete with bed, desk, and refrigerator. Though Fred's job was “at home daily,” these luxuries added comfort to long days. Fred loved taking Gretchen along on his driving assignments, and he felt pure joy when his mother Ruth, at age 93, joined him last October for a run from Camp Hill, Pennsylvania to Martinsburg. In the years prior to her marriage to Fred's father, while working as head nurse of the Infirmary at Princeton University, Ruth had become a bold traveler, and she has retained this spirit throughout life. Fred loved having his mother along on adventures, and he included her at every opportunity, taking her on family jaunts to St. Louis, Lake Michigan, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the coasts and mountains of New England, and the coasts and mountains of Maryland and Virginia.

Like his mother, Fred loved to travel and he loved the seashore in particular, thus he and Gretchen dreamed they would become beach bums in their old age, with time to finally catch up on long reading lists. He had promised Gretchen a trip to Key West, Florida, a place he had visited and loved. Fred's dreams also included being a doting Grandpere, and he was as smitten with little ones as his wife, Granny Gee. Almost daily, Fred dreamed of finishing the science fiction novel he and Jake were writing together, and of completing the architecturally inspired digital illustrations he had been creating for their project. He often worked at the computer for many hours after arriving home from his “day job” driving. Fred also dreamed of learning to distill his own whiskey should doing so become legal in West Virginia. In earlier years, Fred taught himself to sharpen knives of all kinds, and he dreamed of making his own.

During the early 2000s, Fred realized a dream by studying art and art history at Frederick Community College and creating intriguing drawings, pottery, and metal and wood sculptures. His welded steel “Bird” appeared in FCC's Tuscarora Review of 2003. After this special interlude, Fred continued drawing and pursuing another love, photography, often posting his work on Instagram. For a short while, he studied Aikido, which he admired for its strategy. At Emily's mathematics honor society induction at Hood College, Fred surprised himself and others by quickly folding a complex origami figure, per the directions, with no practice. In addition to his full-time job, Fred spent months working part-time in the framing department at Joann's to earn the money to bring a different dream to reality: a Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle. Fred enjoyed many happy hours driving country roads, alone and with a group for which he organized some trips. Later, with the help of Jake, and of his late father-in-law, David, Fred realized another long-held dream by bringing back to life the Jeep Willys his grandfather Hugo Kemman purchased new in 1952 for use as a farm vehicle. It had been idle in a Pennsylvania barn for many years. Fred and Gretchen had planned to drive the Willys in Martinsburg's 2022 Christmas parade, as part of the local Jeep group, just as Fred and Jake had done in an earlier year in Williamsport, Maryland. Fred felt so happy when out with his Jeep sharing his joy with others. As he liked to say, “Willy makes people smile.”

Fred Kemman loved every member of his family and all of his friends with breadth and depth, always wishing for their happiness and success, and always willing to help if asked. What will we do without him? All of us who knew and loved Fred will forever mourn the loss of his jolly and savvy being, yet take delight in recalling the times we did have together. May his loving soul rest in peace.

Frederick Barnes Kemman is survived by his mother, Ruth Winifred Rule Kemman, of Newburgh, Indiana; by his sister, Janet Lynn Kemman Kirby (Richard), of Point of Rocks, Maryland; and by his niece, Sara Michelle Kirby, and his nephew, Steven Frederick Kirby, both of Point of Rocks. He is also survived by his son, James Chandler Kemman, of Gerrardstown, West Virginia; by his wife of 26 years, Gretchen Nanette Myers Kemman, of Martinsburg; by their daughters (by Gretchen's first marriage), Meghan Larraine Kahn (Jason Crawford and Caden) of Kensington, Maryland and Emily Louise Kahn Lienhard (Patrick), of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and by his grandchildren, Leo Kahn Lienhard and Ada Kahn Lienhard, also of Philadelphia.

Fred leaves behind many beloved cousins, in-laws, and friends ranging in location from West Virginia to Maryland to Pennsylvania to New Jersey to Maine to Texas and beyond.

Fred's first cousins include Amy Fisher Thompson (Ryan), Kurt Fisher (Christine), Barbara Rule Traficonte (Arthur), Marvin Rule (Lauren), and Robert Rule. Fred also had the good fortune of having many first-cousins once removed and second cousins.

Close in-laws include Fred's mother-in-law, Nancy Ruth Davis Myers (David, d. 2019), and her brother, Thomas E. Davis (Pat). Sisters-in-law include Jessica Byrd Myers Hayes (Gerald), Wilhelmina Grace Myers Semler (Keith), and Laura Kathleen Myers Shifflett (Brian).

Nieces and nephews by marriage include Katie Leigh Bochinski, Jacqueline Diane Vanorsdale Dayhuff (Robert), Rebekah Ann Hayes, Mackenzie Brooke Hayes Creamer (Zachary), Mina Marie Myers, Madison Noelle Hayes, Gary Lee Hayes, Jr., Grace Elizabeth Baldwin, Benjamin Hunter Hayes (Jillian), and David Woodson Hayes (Jessica LeDane, fiancee). Fred's life was also graced with six grand nieces and nephews by marriage.

Preceding Frederick in death were his paternal grandparents, Hugo Augustus Kemman and Helen Louise Barnes Kemman, and his maternal grandparents, Frederick Rule and Helen Turley Rule, as well as his uncle, Marvin E. Rule (1911), and his wife, Anne. Fred's father, James Hugo Kemman (1937), died in 2007; his infant brother, Frederick Hugo Kemman (1963), died in 1963. More recently, in 2022, Fred lost his aunt, Jenny-Lou (Woofie) Kemman Fisher (1942) (Larry), and in 2019, his father-in-law, David Michael Myers (1930) (Nancy).

To all those family members and friends not mentioned here, please know you were loved a lot and never forgotten.

A viewing and brief service will be held Saturday, January 14, 2023, at Brown Funeral Home in Martinsburg, West Virginia from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m., followed by a procession to the burial service near the Birch Hill loop at Elmwood Cemetery in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

A celebration of Fred's life will take place immediately following, in The Potomac Room at The Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. If you wish to attend or would like more information, please respond by December 26, 2022 to

Donations in Fred's memory may be made to the LST 325 Ship Memorial in Evansville, Indiana:

Arrangements made by Brown Funeral Home.

To send flowers to the family of Frederick Barnes Kemman, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Saturday, January 14th, 2023 | 9:00am - 9:45am
    Brown Funeral Home
    327 West King Street
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    Saturday, January 14th, 2023
    9:00am - 9:45am
  • Service

    Saturday, January 14th, 2023 | 9:45am
    Brown Funeral Home
    327 West King Street
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    Saturday, January 14th, 2023
  • Interment

    Elmwood Cemetery
    4849 Kearneysville Pike
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
  • Online Memory & Photo Sharing Event

    Online Event

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    In Loving Memory Of

    Frederick Kemman

    July 22, 1966 - December 8, 2022

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Karen Allyn

I’m honored to recall the lovely, sweet, kind, & quiet young man Fred was when I worked with him at Cable News 21 of Montgomery Community Media mostly in the ‘90s. It was my skydiving story Fred so beautifully shot & edited in August 1995 as we were on the same team. That award was well deserved. Fred was so laid back and a calming presence at Cable News 21. He also knew a good joke. I’d like to express my sincere condolences to Gretchen, Jake, Ruth, and the entire family. I’m glad Fred found joy in family and vocation and I’m shocked & saddened to hear of his passing. May his memory always be a blessing.
Karen Allyn
Comment | Posted at 08:25pm via Condolence

Kayla Litton

Sending love to all the family. We are missing "Mr. Fred" as he will always be known in my heart.
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Kayla Litton planted a memorial tree for Frederick Kemman
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