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John Kemper, Owner of the Bluebonnet Cafe, has Passed Away

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Marble Falls and its famous Blue Bonnet Café are in mourning after the loss of John Kemper, owner of the restaurant and an active citizen of the town. Kemper passed away from complications of Parkinson’s disease on May 14, 2020. He was considered a key figure in transforming Marble Falls into a travel destination and an economic hub. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, two children and their spouses, three siblings, four grandchildren, and much extended family. There will not be a public service at this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there will be a celebration of John Kemper’s life, to be planned later this year.

John lived in Marble Falls beginning in 1965, working at his family’s place, Kemper’s Korner, as a teenager. Kemper and his wife Belinda purchased the diner in 1981 after often frequenting the establishment. Named after the formerly popular ladies hat, Blue Bonnet Café originally opened in 1929. The couple toiled to establish the spot’s now international reputation. Some of its awards include Best Breakfast in Texas, Best Restaurants Coast-to-Coast, Best Dessert, and Best Chicken-Fried Steak. Daily operations are now run by daughter Lindsay and her husband, Dave.

John Kemper, Owner of the Bluebonnet Cafe, has Passed Away

Photo: envato elements

In 1989, the Kempers began and hosted the Marble Falls Area EMS Fish Fry. Every March and October, the Blue Bonnet’s regular operations cease, and catfish plus all the fixings are served, with proceeds benefiting the Marble Falls Area EMS. Estimated contributions to the cause are over $1 million. John and Belinda were honored in 2013 by the Texas Department of State Health Services as EMS Citizens of the Year for their contributions. In addition to the Blue Bonnet Café’s support of numerous local events, schools, and organizations, Kemper was instrumental in the first Marble Falls LakeFest, the Walkway of Lights holiday display, and the campaign to bring a full-service hospital to Marble Falls. He served on many civic boards and received numerous community awards. The influence and impact of John Kemper will be felt throughout the Marble Falls community for years to come.