Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lillian Kamphuis (1915-2007)

Long-time Pensacola Beach resident and community activist Lillian Kamphuis has died. She was 92.

The PNJ obituary, reprinted below, offers a superb summary of her eventful life. Still, mere words cannot convey what a wonderfully intelligent, kind, thoughtful, humorous, and courageous woman Lillian was. She was kind to everyone she met, whether friend, or neighbor, or bowling competitor, or complete stranger. Even when she found herself on the opposite side of others over some political or environmental issue, for example, Lillian was always respectful, gently padding her sharp wit inside a velvet verbal glove.

Of many women with a penetrating intelligence who were born "too early" in the 20th century it is sometimes said that if only they had been born later, after women were liberated from society's stereotyped expectations, they might have become anything they wanted to be. That should never be said of Lillian Kamphuis. She was determined to be everything she wanted to be and she accomplished far more than most ever dream about.

Lillian Kamphuis lived life to the absolute fullest and enriched the lives of everyone who knew her. She will be greatly missed by all.
She was born August 27, 1915 at the Spring Hill College farm in Mobile, Alabama. She was the fourth of six children born to Jacob and Margaret Kamphuis, both deceased. Her parents married in their home in Holland and migrated within the week to Mobile with one dream: to own land and a milking herd. After years of frugal living the family acquired acreage in Semmes, Alabama and established the "Orchard Dairy". All the children worked in the Dairy, however, schooling was a top priority with their parents. Lil was the quiet student in the family. Always an avid reader, she graduated from Murphy High School at age 15 and Huntington College in Montgomery at age 19, where she majored in Chemistry and worked two jobs to supplement her scholarship.

After graduation Lil taught at the high school in Ozark, Alabama. Two things persuaded her never to teach again: many of the students were older and larger than she and the State's depressed situation resulted in faculty being paid with an I.O.U. She worked for the Aluminum Ore Company in Mobile until the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. When the WAAC (Women's Army Auxiliary Corps) was organized, she joined. She had several assignments in the United States after Boot and Officers training, then overseas to High Wycombe, England, 8th Air Force Headquarters detached to the Central Interpretation Unit in Medmenham. Lil analyzed photos taken by planes of the 325th Phot Wing, pinpointing enemy targets. After the Normandy invasion she was assigned to Air Force Headquarters in France and took part in the Victory March down the Champs Eleysees. After her honorable discharge from the service and triumphant return on the Queen Mary in 1945, she worked in Miami at the Mount Sinai Hospital. She went overseas again for two years as a civilian with the Air Force to Tokyo, Japan. She returned home to Mobile and worked for several years at Remington Rand, She then returned to France with the Civil Service working with the Army, Navy and Air Force Joint Construction Agency building NATO Bases. It was during this period that Lil's father, Jacob visited her and they traveled together to the Netherlands to reunite with the Kamphuis family in the town of Epe. After France, Lil continued with the Civil Service in the States: first working at Brookley Air Force Base in Mobile until it closed in 1969, then Warner-Robins Air Material Area in Georgia until her retirement.

Lil moved to Gulf Breeze in 1974 and to Pensacola Beach permanently in 1976. She considered the Sans Souci her first and only home. Lil started bowling in 1938. A founding member of the first women's bowling league in Mobile and helped start ladies leagues wherever she lived and was an active member of the Gulf Breeze Ladies League into her 90th year. She was a life member of the International Toastmistress Club, a devoted member of the Pensacola Beach Women's Club, a member of the Women's Army Corp Veteran's Association and the American Legion. She supported, with great enthusiasm, the Krew of Wrecks and was their queen of Mardi Gras in 1994. Lil volunteered with the Gulf Breeze Hospital, the Pensacola Beach Leaseholders and was a charter member of the Pensacola Beach Optimist Club. Lil and her family helped found St. Matthews Episcopal Church in Mobile. She has been a member and active participant of St. Francis of Assisi in Gulf Breeze for 33 years.

Lil was preceded in death by her parents, Jacob and Margaret Kamphuis; her sisters, Wilhelmina Champlin, Margaret Coleman, and Harriet Ennis; her brother, John W. Kamphuis; and her great-nephew, Joseph Van Kamphuis. She is survived by her brother, Jacob V. Kamphuis (Betty), Semmes, AL; her sister-in-law, Neva W. Kamphuis, Shreveport, LA; and her devoted niece, Carol Kamphuis Robison, Gulf Breeze, FL. Her extended surviving family includes: nieces, Greta V. Champlin, Montgomery, AL, Virginia (Shelton) Keel, Merryville, LA; nephews, Edward E. (Cheryl) Champlin, Edgewood, NM, John W. Jr. (DeAnna), Shreveport, LA, Carl B. (Cassandra) Kamphuis, Daphne, AL, Jacob J. (Dee) Kamphuis, Mobile, AL. She has 13 great-nieces and nephews and numerous great-great nieces and nephews.

The family wishes to thank her doctors, caretakers from Home Instead, Covenant Hospice, the Rev. Al Pruitt, all her many friends, and especially her devoted companion, Trish Briska, and her family.

A memorial service will be held 11:00 a.m. Thursday, September 13, 2007 at St. Francis of Assisi in Gulf Breeze with a reception following in the parish hall.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to St. Francis of Assisi Scholarship Fund, 1 St. Francis Dr., Gulf Breeze, FL 32561, in memory of Lillian Kamphuis.

1 comment:

muebles pozuelo said...

It can't work in reality, that is exactly what I suppose.