Joyce Freeland Kemp

April 30, 1935February 10, 2021

Joyce Marie (Freeland) Kemp passed away on February 10, 2021 after a short hospitalization following a stroke. She now rests with her Savior Jesus among the angels and saints. Joyce had a full and rich life, starting with her birth during the Depression on April 30, 1935 in Portland, Tennessee, the small country town where she grew up. After her father’s death when she was young, she was privileged to be raised by her amazing single mother Helen, and an incredible squad of grandmothers and aunts, especially, Hilda, Eunice, and Georgia. (Diddie, Mama Eunice, and Mama Georgie, respectively). She loved her childhood in the small town, and grew to become a basketball star and runner-up as Strawberry Festival Queen. Close, lifelong relationships with her friends and cousins from Portland extended to the very end. Upon reaching young adulthood, she moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky to work at Holley Carburetor and go to secretarial school. One day she saw a tall, handsome, well-dressed man walking by the town square and was convinced she needed to meet this man. It was not too long before she met him and was married to Billy Kemp, and thus began their wonderful 6 decades together. As Bill moved up the corporate ladder with Johnson and Johnson, they moved frequently, and raised us, their children. Everywhere she went, she made lifelong friends, people who to this day say that she was the best friend they ever had. From Jackson, Mississippi, to Houston, to Somerville, New Jersey to Cincinnati to Atlanta, to Dallas, to Orange County, California, to Memphis, and finally, back to Dallas, she made friends, and made an incredibly happy home for her family. In particular, the friends she made in Dallas, as a group of Girl Scout leaders in the 70’s, the “therapy group” were an essential and life-giving force for her. We, Scott and Kathy, her children, were blessed to be a part of this great, and for us, formative, life journey. Along the way she had many roles: Cub Scout Den Mother, Girl Scout Leader, employee at Texas Flagpoles and travel agent with Time to Travel, bowling team member, country club golfer, a capella group singer, and all along, the best Mom and Grandma a person could want. She loved music, a fine pastry, a vodka martini, dachshunds, word games, South Padre Island, Hallmark movies, and watching golf and “Jeopardy” on TV. She was a great Southern cook, learning at the feet of the masters when she was a girl. Her incredible fried chicken, cornbread stuffing, fried cabbage and bacon, and incomparable chess pie all had deliciousness that future generations ahead will never know. All along, she was sustained by her Christian faith nurtured in the small Methodist church in Portland, and at the end, the amazing community she was part of at Spring Valley United Methodist Church. It is hard to put in words how important the people at this church have been to her, especially the last 10 years since her Bill died. Scott and Kathy will be forever thankful that she was a part of this faith community. But, her greatest joy and the greatest joy of her entire life, was her grandchildren. Grandma, or “Grams”, adored these children, every step of the way as they grew to adulthood. Janey, Abby, Katy, Patrick, and Mary Beth were the loves of her life and she cherished every moment spent with them.They may never realize just how much she loved them, thought about them, and how incredibly proud she was of all of them. Joyce was preceded in death by her husband Bill Kemp, her father Fred Freeland, her mother Helen Freeland Wilkinson, and her step-father Harold Wilkinson. She is survived by her son Scott Kemp (wife Sharon) and daughter Kathy (Kemp) Hopkins (husband Roger), and grandchildren Janey (Kemp) Cragin (husband Collin), Abby (Kemp) Bedenkop (husband Nick), Mary Beth Kemp, Katy Hopkins, and Patrick Hopkins. She is also survived by her beloved step-brothers Larry Wilkinson (wife Janice), and Charles Wilkinson, and her in-laws, Mary (Kemp) Foster (husband Don), and Jim Kemp, D.D.S, (wife Ellen).

A memorial of her life will be held at a time in the near future at Spring Valley United Methodist Church with life stream attendance available. In lieu of flowers donations in her honor can be made to Spring Valley United Methodist Church, 7700 Spring Valley Rd., Dallas, TX 75254, 972-233-7671.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Kemp family.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Joyce Freeland Kemp

have a memory or condolence to add?

Virginia Newkirk

February 16, 2021

I will miss my wonderful friend and neighbor. Hoping you and the love of your life Bill are together again.

Diane Gonzalez

February 14, 2021

It is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to my friend, neighbor and confidant. I will miss your beautiful smile. Rest In Peace dear friend.

Ellen and Jim Kemp

February 13, 2021

We will miss her smile and laughter. Her home was always open to family and friends. She brought joy to all our lives. RIP Joyce.