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9:29 am
Fri January 3, 2014

R. Crosby Kemper Jr. Dies At 86

Kemper Jr. displayed a lifelong passion for the arts.
Credit Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

Kansas City banker and philanthropist, R. Crosby Kemper Jr. has died at the age of 86.

Kemper was best known for leading Kansas City-based UMB Financial Corp. He died Thursday in Indian Wells, Calif.

His son R. Crosby Kemper III says he was there enjoying the great weather over the holidays.

Kemper Jr. was born in Kansas City on Feb. 22, 1927 to R. Crosby Kemper Sr. and Enid Jackson Kemper. He worked in banking for more than 50 years, starting at his father's City National Bank as a night transit clerk and eventually becoming president in 1959.

Kemper Jr. was also a civic leader in Kansas City, and founder of Agriculture Future of America, the Kansas City Symphony, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and the Metropolitan Performing Arts Fund.

"He looked at the world as a place to do the right thing in, a place to do good in," said Kemper III on the KCUR program Up To Date. "He did that, I think, he saw that as something related to his business career, as well as his philanthropic career."

Kemper III said his dad was very proud of what he accomplished in Kansas City.

"He loved the fact that downtown revived, he loved the fact that Kansas City has become a cultural center," said Kemper III. 

He and his wife, Bebe Kemper, stepped down from management of the Kemper Museum in April 2013.

Kemper Jr. is survived by his wife, seven children, 22 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Listen to Crosby Kemper, III talk about his father with Up to Date's Steve Kraske.

You can read more about the life of R. Crosby Kemper Jr. here.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that contributions be made to the Agriculture Future of AmericaAmerican RoyalPhillips AcademyKansas City Symphony and Kemper Museum.

Arrangements are pending.

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