Janet Elizabeth Kemp, RN, PhD, 63, native of Carthage

Janet Elizabeth Kemp, RN, PhD, 63, native of Carthage

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Janet Elizabeth Kemp, RN, PhD, of 300 West Ave., Canandaigua, formerly of Carthage, died on August 8, 2017, after a lengthy illness. She was 63.

Daughter of James and Barbara Kemp, she was born in Carthage, NY on April 16, 1954. She lived a fulfilling life in service to others, and was internationally known as an expert in suicide prevention for veterans.

Janet grew up in Carthage and graduated from Carthage Central School in 1972. She attended SUNY Plattsburgh and received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1976.

She began her career with a position at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY. From there, she moved to Denver, CO, where she continued working as a nurse while attending the University of Colorado Denver, earning a Master of Science, Nursing in 1979.

She returned to University of Colorado Denver in 2000, earning a Doctorate of Philosophy, Nursing in 2004 for her dissertation “Women Deployed: Pattern Profiles of Women Who Served During the Persian Gulf War”. She was a recipient of the University of Colorado Chancellor’s Teaching Recognition Award and was a State of Colorado Nursing Nightingale Award finalist.

In 1986, she began working for the Veterans Administration. She eventually began to research suicide prevention, becoming an expert on the topic. She served as National Mental Health Program Director for Suicide Prevention and Community Engagement from 2007 until 2014 and then as Associate Director and Chief of Education, Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention until her retirement in 2016. Major honors include the VA Secretary’s Exceptional Service Award in 2007 and the Under Secretary of Health’s Excellent Service Award in 2014.

Dr. Kemp received the prestigious Service to America Medal, naming her 2009 Federal Employee of the Year, for establishing a national suicide prevention hotline for military members, veterans, and their families. The hotline has received over three million calls since it went live in 2007, initiating the dispatch of emergency services to callers in imminent suicidal crisis tens of thousands of times.

She served on a variety of military taskforces for suicide prevention, was a sought-after speaker on the topic of suicide prevention, and held an adjunct appointment at the University of Rochester.

Janet is survived by a family and many friends who loved her very much and were proud of her accomplishments. These include her spouse of many years, Rhonda Kreft; and her sister Pamela Kemp Shepherd, Potsdam. She also had a nephew Zachary Shepherd, San Francisco, and a niece Elizabeth Shepherd, Boston. She was preceded in death by her parents, James W. Kemp and Barbara J. Kemp of Carthage, NY.

Calling hours will be held Saturday, August 12 at 1:00 pm at the Bezanilla-McGraw Funeral Home, with a Memorial Service at 3:00 pm and interment following at the Hillside Cemetery in West Carthage.  Memorial donations may be made to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors at taps.org.

To leave a condolence, go to www.bezanillafh.com

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