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Fishing, real estate community mourn loss of friend

By Jessica Rodrigo
April 25, 2014 at 7:01 p.m.
Updated April 25, 2014 at 11:26 p.m.


Many in the Poco Bueno Fishing Tournament in July will feel the absence of a good friend and gentlemanly competitor.

Richard "Dick" Kemp - an avid fisherman, astute businessman and close friend of many - passed away April 18 in his Austin home.

The memorial service Thursday in Austin gathered friends and family who loved and admired Kemp, said Dennis Patillo, of Victoria.

"There were no seats," he said. "It was standing room only. They had to put people in an adjacent room."

Patillo was also there when Kemp made waves in Victoria as the new owner of One O'Connor Plaza in 2009. Kemp was the founder and partner of Kemp Properties, which owns various parcels across the state.

"We've lost a giant in golf, a giant in real estate and a giant in fishing," Patillo said. "He was the best in all three of those things."

Patillo described his friend as a generous man who always wanted to make people happy - whether that meant sharing his fishing pole on the water or sharing his experience as a businessman with other people.

Brenda Carter, of Port O'Connor, remembers Kemp as a mentor when she got into real estate. She was a "newbie" at the time, and she said he helped her build her confidence. She remembers being intimidated by her male counterparts, but Kemp was always there to offer support.

"His main goal was that everybody was treated fairly," she said about Kemp. "He didn't like ladies to think they had to get paid less or have less listings."

During the memorial, she was happy to see people laughing more than crying.

Friends and family shared stories of him, and it seemed as though each person had fond memories of Kemp, Carter said.

"That is his legacy - that when you think of him, it's a funny thought or an encouraging thought," she said.

Kemp and his wife, Melissa, owned a home at the end of the street where Howard Hilton and his wife, Becky, own a condo in Port O'Connor. The Kemps frequented Port O'Connor almost every weekend to fish and spend time near the water, so the couples developed a long-lasting bond over seafood dinners and margaritas.

"He could cook up great food and great red snapper," Becky Hilton said.

The Hiltons' condo overlooked the pool, so whenever they saw the Kemps hop in the pool, they would join them, and that would be the start to a fun evening, she said.

Kemp could always be found with a smile on his face, Howard Hilton said, and he could always be counted on for a good laugh.

"He was a super friendly guy who never had a complaint," Hilton said. "I don't think he had an enemy in the world."

Hilton, of Victoria, said he is going to miss seeing Kemp ride his Rico Runner out of Port O'Connor during the Poco Bueno Fishing Tournament. He loved to go offshore fishing, Hilton said.

Kemp is irreplaceable, Patillo said.

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