Kempfer was first woman appointed to American National Cattlemen’s Association

Carolyn Teresa Reed entered the world on February 24, 1919, in Savannah, Georgia; she was the eldest of four children born to Clyde and Ethel Reed. On a visit to Florida in the mid-1940s, she met George Kempfer and knew immediately he was the man she wanted to marry. Little did she know how her life would change, being the wife of a rancher in Deer Park, Florida. George’s grandfather George W. Hopkins purchased 104,000 acres in 1890; Kempfer’s ranch consisted of 50,000.

Carolyn and George raised their two sons and two daughters on the family ranch, which spanned both Osceola and Brevard counties. When George died in 1962, it not only fell to Carolyn to manage Deer Park Ranch, Inc., but Gov. Farris Bryant appointed her to fill George’s unexpired term on the Osceola County Board of Public Education. Carolyn was later elected to serve a full term on the board. In 1970 she was the first woman appointed to serve on the American National Cattlemen’s Association and since 1963 had been the only woman director in the Brevard County Farm Bureau.

Never idle, Carolyn was a charter member of Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Melbourne, Florida, a member of Joshua Stevens Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and a charter member of Osceola County Cow Belles Association. She also belonged to the PEO sisterhood, Silver Spurs Riding Club, earning the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000, and was a director of Brevard County Hospital Guild for 10 years. 

Carolyn was chosen outstanding Cow Belle of the Year for Florida in 1972. The following year the Kempfer family was named Outstanding Farm Family of the year for Osceola County and by the Brevard County Farm Bureau Association in 1976. Beta Sigma Phi Sorority named her First Lady of the Year in 1979, and she was presented the title Outstanding Agriculturist of the Year in 1988 by the Florida Association of County Agricultural Agents.

Carolyn Kempfer died on September 6, 2007, and was buried in Melbourne Cemetery, Brevard County, Florida.

Written by Anza Bast

Sources: “Orlando Sentinel” March 2, 1967; July 23, 1972; January 1, 1989; February 13, 2000; September 7, 2007; Ancestry.com