Cecile Blum Kempner, born May 11, 1908, in Galveston died Thursday morning, December 5, 2008, at Edgewater Retirement Community in the city.
Cecile Blum Kempner
J. Levy & Termini Funeral Home
She was predeceased by her parents Isaac Herbert and Henrietta Blum Kempner; two brothers Harris L. Kempner and Isaac Herbert Kempner, Jr.; a sister Lyda Kempner (Mrs. Arthur W.} Quinn; her sister-in-law Ruth Levy (Mrs. Harris L.) Kempner; and nephews Marion Lee (Sandy) Kempner and Edward Randall (Tim) Thompson.
Miss Kempner is survived by her sister, Leonora (Nonie) Kempner (Mrs. Edward R.) Thompson and a host of nieces and nephews and their families: Lyda Ann Quinn Thomas, Henrietta (Penny) Quinn Guttersen, Peter K. Thompson, Rhoda Thompson Ezell, Harris L. (Shrub) Kempner, Jr., I. H. Kempner, III, and James C. Kempner.
Among her many relatives, Galveston family members include Barbara Weston (Mrs. Dominic) Sasser, Daniel K. Thorne, Robert L. Kempner Lynch and Kathleen Blair Lynch.
Miss Kempner was the granddaughter of Harris and Eliza Kempner, a pioneer Galveston family whose memory is kept alive through the philanthropies of the Harris and Eliza Kempner Fund, and the great granddaughter of Leon Blum an early Texas entrepreneur.
Affectionately called Ceci by her family, friends and colleagues, Miss Kempner attended the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Making her debut in Galveston, she was the Mardi Gras Queen in 1928. Her King was Robert Sealy. Acquiring merchandising skills at Maison Myro, a local ladies fashion shop, Miss Kempner chose the sophisticated and culturally nourishing life of New York City, where she pursued a 45 year career at Lord & Taylor as buyer specializing in leather goods and handbags. She was a career woman of note. I. H. wrote of her in his memoir, Recalled Recollections, as “ever considerate toward all, is exceptionally efficient in her commercial chores, gracious to family and friends, acquiring a high rank in the commercial and social circles where she is best known.” Many a Galvestonian enjoyed her hospitality when visiting New York.
The family wishes to thank faithful friends who cared for Miss Kempner over the years, especially Ms. Jeanie Hampton, Daurice Gardner, Carrie Finley, Irene Washington and Margeree Wilson.
A private memorial service will be held at a later date. The family requests that any memorials be made to the restoration of the Grand 1984 Opera House, the Rosenberg Library, the Galveston Chapter of the American Red Cross or to the charity of choice.