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Margaret M (Fitch) Van Kempen

May 1, 1925 ~ September 10, 2018 (age 93)

Margaret Mae (Fitch) Van Kempen was born May 1, 1925, in a farmhouse in Wood Lake, Minnesota to Gertrude (Sanders) and Seth Fitch.  Margaret grew up in Minneapolis graduating in 1943 from Central High School. Margaret and Jerome Van Kempen were married September 8, 1949 and moved to Alexandria shortly thereafter.

Margaret/Maggie wore many hats.  She was a loving wife, mother and grandmother as well as a good friend to many.  She and Jerry were members of the Emmanuel Episcopal Church, the Jaycees, they danced in the Follies and volunteered endlessly.  Margaret was active in PTA, volunteered at the Hospital, baked and donated pies for many causes.  She made her daughters’ wedding dresses.  Margaret drew up the plans for two lake homes.  She was an artist, drawing caricatures on greeting cards and adding one of her remarkable poems to boot. She had so much talent, but never tooted her own horn.

Margaret worked full time as an executive secretary (State Employment Office, Douglas Co.  Courthouse, Alexandria Schools) while raising their 3 daughters.  Her speed on any typewriter was like music to the ears and her dictation (stenography) skills were equally as impressive.  Meanwhile, Jerry would decide it was time to try a new venture and she would be back to the typewriter when everyone was sleeping.  She kept track of personal and business accounts while keeping Jerry organized. Margaret was the glue that held the family together.  After work or on a spare afternoon, she would take her girls swimming at Lake Latoka.  Of course, neighbor kids packed into the car and she took everyone.  She was a dear, dear woman and loved by so many.

When Maggie and Jerry were in their 60’s, the airshow industry captured their attention.  They took their sound system on the road and Jerry would narrate for different performers while   Maggie would work the crowd and drum up more acts for Jerry to announce.  At night she was back to the typewriter.  It was during one of these airshows that Red Baron/Schwans discovered the Maggie and Jerry team.  Jerry narrated nationwide for the Red Baron Stearman Squadron for the next 14 years while Maggie kept the team organized and did company PR. They continued with Red Baron until retiring at age 79.  Maggie loved this job and the travel that came with it.  It was the perfect ending to a hard earned retirement.

Margaret and Jerry lived in their home until January of 2017, when they moved to Knute Nelson. Margaret passed peacefully with family at her side in the morning of September 10, 2018 at the age of ninety-three years..

Margaret is survived by their three daughters; Mary Campbell of Maple Grove, Ellen Van Kempen of Edina and Jeri (Chuck) Jost of Detroit Lakes; 9 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren.  She was preceded in death by her husband, Jerry and two brothers, Chester and Arthur Fitch.

 A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 2:00 PM on Saturday, September 22 at Anderson Funeral Home.   Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service; with fellowship and refreshments to follow the service.

The family is grateful for the loving care provided by the wonderful people at Knute Care Center and Knute Nelson Hospice.


Donations may be made to:

2018 Walk to End Alzheimer's - Alexandria, MN
600 25th Ave S #201, St. Cloud MN 56301
Web: http://act.alz.org/site/TR?fr_id=11787&pg=entry


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