Danish Festival parade mainstay ‘Kempy’ dies

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 8:11 am on Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Stanley “Kempy” Saussy is pictured at the Danish Festival in downtown Greenville in 1982. Saussy died Saturday at the age of 66. — Courtesy photo

GREENVILLE — Danish Festival-goers may not have known his name, but they knew his face.

Stanley Saussy, better known as “Kempy,” has been a familiar figure in Danish Festival parades since the early 1970s.

Kempy died Saturday after a heart attack at his home in Greenville. He was 66.

In his late 20s, Kempy relocated from his home state of Florida to the home of his grandparents, Stan and Marian Kemp in Greenville, in 1972. The Kemps were active in the Danish Festival and when Kempy said he’d like to march in the parade, they helped make it a reality in 1973, according to Kempy’s cousin, Bill Kemp.

“He has been a military history buff all his life,” said Kemp who owns Kemp Insurance in downtown Greenville. “He marched in the parades up until about two years ago in various military uniforms, including the Civil War, World War I and World War II.”

Kempy would also pitch a tent in downtown Greenville and guard the food booths during Danish Festival weekend.

Kempy was more informed than most when it came to military history. His cousin recalled an incident at the former Tim’s Cafe in downtown Greenville, where Kempy would often eat lunch with local business owners.

The subject arose of the Falklands War — a 1982 conflict between Argentina and the United Kingdom. Someone asked a question about the war and Kempy answered — and then some.

“He basically mesmerized everyone at the table explaining what the war was about, the history of the war, the types of weapons involved, how the United Kingdom was affected,” Kemp recalled. “He kept everyone speechless for about 20 minutes. Most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.”

When the Danish Festival was done for the year, Kempy could be found riding his bicycle around Greenville and striking up conversations wherever he found a listening ear.

Kempy is survived by his beloved cat, Anastasia, two brothers, Stephen Saussy of California and John Saussy of Pennsylvania, and other relatives.

A time of fellowship in memory of Kempy’s life will be from 5 to 8 p.m. today at Turn the Page Bar & Burgers, 107 S. Lafayette St. in downtown Greenville.

“My buddy Kempy was the most caring person I’ve ever met,” the owners of Turn The Page posted Sunday on their Facebook page. “Didn’t have much, yet always willing to help out. He was so happy just to be a part of our family. Never had a bad word to say about anyone, respectful and truly showed me the meaning of a good friend. Thank you buddy, you’ll be missed every day.”

Memorial donations in Kempy’s name may be made to the Danish Festival, 203 S. Lafayette St., Greenville, or the Fighting Falcon Military Museum, 516 W. Cass St., Greenville.

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