Weekly Feature

2016-07-06 / Obituaries

William E. Kempker, World War II veteran


William E. “Bubbles” Kempker of Tonawanda died Saturday, June 25, 2016, at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Batavia. He was 90.

The World War II veteran was born and raised in Buffalo. He entered the military at age 18 and served as a rifleman in the U.S. Army from December 1943 to January 1946 in the 290th Infantry of the 75th Division.

He was wounded in action on two occasions. The first was at the Battle of the Bulge for which he received the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantry Badge and the Conspicuous Service Cross.. Then, on April 13, 1945, he was severely wounded at the Battle of Ruhr Pocket.

Mr. Kempker was awarded the Oak Leaf Cluster and the Bronze Star Medal for gallantry in action. He took pride in his service and was also a lifetime member of the D.A.V. Chapter 150.

Following his military service, Mr. Kempker lived in his family home on Michigan Avenue in Buffalo.

His extended family was important to him. Although, not a father himself, he loved all the nieces and nephews in his life.

Mr. Kempker supplied the coffee and cards on Sunday afternoons where family and friends could count on seeing his friendly face and conversation.

Being an avid sportsman, many of Mr. Kempker’s days were spent at the family camp in the Southern Tier, or in past years at the boathouse on Lake Erie.

Additionally, he shared his passion for hunting and fishing with family and friends.

Gardening played a role in his life as he grew vegetables and raised fruit trees. His beekeeping skills also always ensured a supply of honey.

He is survived by one sister, Olga Apfel.

Funeral services were held on June 29 at the Tonawanda Chapel of Amigone Funeral Home. Interment will be in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

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