Cover photo for Gary Wallace Kemper's Obituary
Gary Wallace Kemper Profile Photo
1942 Gary 2024

Gary Wallace Kemper

May 19, 1942 — March 22, 2024

Brother Shankara aka Gary W. Kemper


May 19, 1942 - March 22, 2024


Our beloved Brother Shankara (Gary W. Kemper, 81) peacefully left behind all his worldly limitations on Friday, March 22nd at 1:56pm Eastern time, surrounded by family and friends chanting and singing him on his way. When it recently became clear that modern medicine was out of patches for his 'space suit,' he very consciously chose to go on hospice as he did not want to remain in the body if he could no longer do his work as Resident Minister of the Vedanta Center of Atlanta. A little over 24 hours later, he left his body behind. His soul's passing was graceful, sweet and dignified, in the auspicious bright fortnight of the moon. He left behind more love for his family, friends and devotees than his worn out body could contain.


Gary is preceded in death by his wife of 47 years, Marjorie J. Kemper (Anderson); his parents, Clifton W. Kemper and Lora Kemper (Moore); his sister, Lisa Kemper, and his brother, Evan L. Kemper.


He is survived by his son, Benjamin Kemper and daughter-in-law, Betsie Kemper of Glendale, CA; his sister Janice Johnson and her partner, Michael DeGive of Decatur, GA; his brother Richard Kemper of Apple Valley, CA, his nephews Joel and Ethan Hageman, Ryan Johnson and Shaun Dial; his beloved friend and companion, Cyndi Craven of Tucker, GA; and innumerable beloved friends.


Gary was born in Fresno, California in 1942 and, being an "Army brat" lived in many places across the United States, as well as in France and Germany. His family settled in Riverside, CA in the 1950s. Gary married Marjorie Anderson in Seal Beach, CA on January 12, 1963 and had a son, Benjamin, on October 1, 1964.


Gary becomes Shankara...


In early 1973, Gary's brother Evan recommended that he meet Swami Prabhavananda at the Vedanta Society of Southern California in Hollywood. The resulting meeting would change the course of Gary's (and his son Benjamin's) life. Gary was initiated by Swami Swahananda and was given the name Shankara. Over the years, he would assist Swahananda with many projects, including the formation of many satellite centers. He served on the Society's Board of Directors for than 25 years.


...and finally, Brother Shankara


Soon after Marjorie passed away on November 12, 2009, Gary took monastic vows from Swami Swahananda and at his request, traveled to Tucker, Georgia, to take up the position of Resident Minister of the Vedanta Center of Atlanta in August of 2010. Now Brother Shankara, he would lead the Center for 14 years. Working with the devotees there, Brother Shankara grew the congregation, rebuilt the Monastery to better allow for visiting Swamis and Pravrajika, and held the Center together with talks and classes over Zoom during the Covid Pandemic. He held classes in Athens, Georgia, and was actively involved in interfaith work in Atlanta, frequently providing talks at Universities and hosting students at the Center.


Despite his health challenges, Brother Shankara gave Sunday talks and led three classes a week on Zoom up until just three weeks prior to his passing. Though we are grateful that he will now be with Thakur and Ma, his teaching, his love, and his generosity of spirit will be missed by friends and devotees in California, Georgia and around the world


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gary Wallace Kemper, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

A.S. Turner & Sons Funeral Home & Crematory

2773 North Decatur Road, Decatur, GA 30033

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Funeral Service

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

A.S. Turner & Sons Funeral Home & Crematory

2773 North Decatur Road, Decatur, GA 30033

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