Marjean F. Kempel

February 12, 1946 ~ September 25, 2023 (age 77) 77 Years Old

Marjean Kempel Obituary

Marjean F. Kempel, 77 of Pendleton died on Monday, September 25, 2023 at Trios Hospital in Kennewick, Washington.

Marjean was born in Pendleton, OR to Harold and Berdena (Bowman) Nichols.   She had an older sister, Letty Mae to welcome her.  When she was still an infant they moved to Clarkston, WA.  Then came two more sisters, Claudia and Carolyn. The family lived there until 1956 when they moved to Peck, ID.  There, she went to school until 6th grade. For  jr. high and high school she bussed up river the 11 miles to Orofino. 

Living in Peck, she met John Rueppel and they married in 1964 and in 1967 she had her first child, Mirisa (Dawny) and a year later came John (Nick).  In 1970 the family moved to Pilot Rock, OR where John worked for the mill.  In 1973 they briefly moved to Pendleton where Marjean worked as a nurses aid but they moved back to Pilot Rock that same year and Marjean became a waitress and bartender.  In 1976 she decided she had had enough of John’s shenanigan’s and they divorced.  She soon fell in love with her soul mate, Alvin Kempel and they married in 1979.

 She continued to bartend, but she had bigger dreams and went back to school to finish her GED.  In 1982 she had her third and last baby Elizabeth (Charlie).  She had fallen in love with nursing during her stint as nurses aid and went on to get her LPN and then her RN.  She worked hard and was very successful. After working in several facilities in and around Pendleton, including Amber Valley, St Anthony Hospital,  Evergreen Care Facility, and EOCI, she went to work in The Dalles, OR while Al maintained their home in Pilot Rock.  She would go home on the weekends or he would go and stay in The Dalles for a few days at a time.  They made it work and had a strong marriage.

She worked at Valley Vista, the Oregon Veterans’ Home and at Flagstone in The Dalles.  She wore many hat’s. Her titles included RCM, Director of Nursing, trainer, CNA instructor and more.  While at the Veterans' Home she had a career high, receiving a perfect onsite federal review.  She was very proud of this and so was her family.  She also worked at Columbia Gorge Community College in The Dalles as a CNA and 1st year nursing instructor and developed the state’s CNA2 training program. 

In 2012 she retired and was ready to come home when her son, Nick, became ill.  She moved back to Peck for a year to care for him until his passing in 2013.   

She moved back home where she could continue to do the things she loved.  Fishing, camping, travelling and holidays.   She loved fishing all over but most especially in the Columbia River and Alaska. Their travels often included eye rolling and laughter at some of Al's more questionable travel choices but they always did it holding hands.

In 2014, Al passed away after a sudden illness, with her by his side.  Marjean never knew what to do with herself if she wasn’t busy so she again, went back to work, as Director of the CNA program at BMCC in Pendleton and then as a nurse at the Eastern Oregon Surgery Center.  She finally retired for good in 2019.

Marjean was a busy, active and strong lady who loved life, her family, and her most beloved Mariners.  Her grandchildren meant everything to her and she could always be found at the ball field watching them play.

She is survived by her sisters, Carolyn and Claudia, daughters, Dawny (Donald) McCullough, Elizabeth (Aric) Futter, grandchildren, Michaela, Michael, Jessica, Orey, Nathan, Samantha, Jared, Emily, Ethan and nine great grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents Harold and Berdena, her sister Letty, her son Nick, and her husband Al.

There will be no formal service, but burial is planned for 11 am on Saturday, October 7th at Pilot Rock Cemetery, if anyone would like to stop by. A  potluck gathering will follow, at the White Eagle Grange Hall for anyone who would like to come and remember her and Al. Please feel free to come and visit, with a dish or not.


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Graveside Service
October 7, 2023

11:00 AM
Pilot Rock Community Center
285 NW Cedar Place
Pilot Rock, Oregon 97868

Potluck Gathering
October 7, 2023

11:30 AM
White Eagle Grange Hall
HWY 395 S & White Eagle Road
Pilot Rock, Oregon 97868


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