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September 15, 2009: In Memory of Brian Kemp

Former Canyon Call staff photographer Brian Kemp (Photo Courtesy of The Signal)

Former Canyon Call staff photographer Brian Kemp (Photo Courtesy of The Signal)

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of one of our own. Former Canyon Call staff photographer Brian Cooper Kemp died Sept. 7 in Cokercreek, Tenn., just four days shy of his 37th birthday.

According to an obituary that appeared Sept. 13 in The Signal, Kemp succumbed to complications suffered from a February 1996 car accident.

Kemp was born on Sept. 11, 1972 in Los Angeles and was a graduate of Saugus High School. He earned two Associate in Arts degrees from College of the Canyons, one in Photography and the other in Journalism, and was a mainstay at the Canyon Call.

Jim Ruebsamen, retired Chair of COC’s Journalism Department, told this web site that Brian was aware of his problems, but did not let them stand in the way of getting his education.

“He was slowed by his afflictions, but he would never quit,” Ruebsamen said. “He was a gentle and very clever, smart man who always tried to be helpful in and out of class. He often offered help to other writers and photographers at the Canyon Call. As students got to know Brian, they were sometimes amazed at what he could accomplish.”

Former Signal photo editor Bryan Kneiding worked alongside Kemp at the Canyon Call several years ago. Kneiding said he hadn’t run into Kemp in a few years, but every time they encountered each other at a game or community event around the Santa Clarita Valley, they would catch up and talk shop.

“Brian is an inspiration to me and to those who got to know him,” Kneiding told this web site. “He was an example of how to persevere no matter what obstacles might come your way and to enjoy life, friends and family. I will miss him dearly.”

The obstacles Kneiding spoke of were the limitations imposed on Kemp by the automobile accident he was involved in more than 13 years ago. Despite the daily challenges Kemp faced, he found refuge at the Canyon Call, where he was able to explore his creative potential behind the lens of a camera.

Sadly, this type of opportunity no longer exists at College of the Canyons. Just prior to the start of the fall 2009 semester, COC administration eliminated the campus newspaper along with the five journalism classes that support it.

Kemp’s family will hold a memorial service Oct. 24 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Canyon Country.

Rest in peace, Brian.

Number of days COC has been without a school newspaper: 23

September 14, 2009   Comments Off