Advertisement
Baltimore County

Irvin F. Kemp Jr.

Irvin F. Kemp Jr., a retired WMAR-TV film editor whose career spanned more than 30 years, died Jan. 9 of lung cancer at his Parkville home. He was 84.

Mr. Kemp, the son of a plumber and a homemaker, was born in Baltimore and raised in Hamilton.

After graduating from Polytechnic Institute, Mr. Kemp was drafted into the Army in 1942. He served as a military policeman, as part of an engineering unit and as a truck driver in Europe. He was discharged in 1946.

After the war, Mr. Kemp went to work as a machinist in the experimental laboratory at the old Glenn L. Martin Co. plant in Middle River.

"The day before our first daughter was born in 1950, he lost his job at the Martin Co.," said his wife of 62 years, the former Anita D. Frock.

"His friend, Carroll Hebbel, who worked at WMAR and knew Irv's hobby was photography, got him a job at the station, which was then located in the old Sunpapers building downtown, processing news film."

Along with Mr. Hebbel, Mr. Kemp's job was to process and edit footage shot by the station's cameramen for daily newscasts.

That same year, Mr. Kemp began working with Helen Delich Bentley, then The Sun's maritime editor, on her television series, "The Port That Built a City and State," which aired Sunday afternoons on WMAR from 1950 to 1965.

"Irv was my film editor on 'The Port That Built a City and State,' and with his death, myself and Jack Dawson are the only ones left from that era," said Mrs. Bentley, who later became a congresswoman and chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission.

"Irv was a very patient and talented film editor. He always had a smile on his face. Even when he got irritated with me, he was still polite," Mrs. Bentley recalled. "He was a very nice person, and he worked with me from the beginning to the end."

In an unpublished interview several years ago, Mr. Kemp recalled his working relationship with Mrs. Bentley.

"We had a team, myself and Charlie Purcell, he shot film. I used to always kid Helen that she could swear better than any longshoreman. She got things done and was quite a character," Mr. Kemp said.

"Once we were doing a show on bay pilots. We left Baltimore, went down to Virginia on a freighter, and we got seasick. I called her my puking buddy. Charlie had been in the Navy, so it didn't bother him," he recalled.

George Ward, a retired WMAR news photographer, was a friend and colleague.

"He was very friendly and outgoing. And when it came to film assembly, Irv was a very meticulous tape editor," said Mr. Ward. "He had index cards where he recorded each of the edits. He really was a very precise editor."

Tim Bliss, who is a WMAR technician, is also a former co-worker.

"He was very knowledgeable and taught me what I know about film editing. He had been an old film editor who then had moved on to videotape," said Mr. Bliss, who went to work at the station in 1977.

"We worked the 4 p.m. to midnight shift, and he showed me the ropes. He was my mentor," he said. "Irv easily handled deadline pressure. He was always very calm, even and under control. He was thorough, accurate and got the job done."

Mr. Kemp retired in 1984.

Mr. Kemp was an avid model railroad and aviation fan. He built and collected model airplanes as well as Lionel and HO-gauge and N-gauge trains.

"Up until three years ago, when we ran out of space, he set up a large Christmas garden," Mrs. Kemp said. "He even had large-gauge trains that could operate in a garden."

For 40 years, he enjoyed boating and vacationing at Deep Creek Lake. He also liked caring for his yard and tinkering in his basement workshop.

Mr. Kemp had been a member of Calvary Lutheran Church in Hamilton.

Services were held yesterday.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Kemp is survived by six daughters, Sandra G. Kemp and Cheryl L. Guariglia, both of Baldwin, Susan G. Dumler of Parkville, Denise L. Smith of Clarksville, Wendy J. Engelhaupt of Monkton and Terri Klatt of Atlanta; and five grandchildren. Another daughter, Holly C. Smith, died in 2007.


Advertisement