‘He was always willing to help’
By Denise Baran-Unland For The Herald-News July 29, 2012 4:22PM
Updated: August 31, 2012 6:06AM
Motorcycle enthusiast Kemp Pond, 30, of Plainfield, once wrote a poem describing the blissful freedom he felt while riding his bike at night.
“Adventure is always around the next bend,” Kemp had written. “I could do this until I die.
Although Kemp’s May 22 fatal motorcycle accident devastated his family and friends, they are thankful Kemp, their “gentle giant” (Kemp was a 6-foot 5-inch redhead), died while engaged in something he loved. And Kemp loved many things.
He had been a Boy Scout and, after high school, an adult leader. Always happy outdoors, Kemp was a lifelong member of the Wilmington Recreation Club and often hunted, fished, camped and played disc golf. He participated in competitive pistol shooting.
“He was always inquisitive, smart and willing to try new things,” said Dana Pond of Plainfield, Kemp’s father. “He was able to do most everything. He explored life to the fullest.”
But Kemp was also mechanically skilled. He worked on motorcycles, cars (Kemp, who owned several Ford Festivas, was an active member of the Ford Festiva Club) and trucks. Kemp’s abilities also extended to the electrical components, such as lights.
“Kemp was always taking things apart. He was curious about everything,” said Melcy Pond, Kemp’s mother. “On vacations when we were all swimming, he’d be digging up stuff by himself and looking at the rocks, shells and fish.”
Kemp also loved to read — and discuss — a variety of material, from Stephen King novels to magazines such as Popular Mechanic and The Smithsonian. In 2007, Kemp became an ordained minister.
He loved to cook, made terrific guacamole, grew and processed horseradish for family and friends and participated in many fiery wings eating contests. On one occasion, Kemp’s family even placed first out of 22 teams in a trivia contest, with much of the credit going to Kemp.
“We all answered some questions,” Melcy said, “but Kemp knew them all. He just let us play. It’s incredible what he knew.”
Kemp had many friends for every interest, but he always had a variety of animal companions, too: dogs, parakeets, cats. Kemp’s last cat, Freya, waited by the door for him, then followed the young man around the house, mewing at his heels.
“If you broke down by the side of the road, this big, read-headed guy would work on your car, say, ‘Thank you’ and ‘Bye,’ and then leave,” Dana said. “He was always willing to help. He was the nicest man in the world to know.”
Contact Denise M. Baran-Unland at 815-467-5249 or email@example.com.