The 1988 Winner: Carolyn Reed Kempfer
Carolyn Reed Kempfer was "Woman of the Year in Agriculture" for 1988. She was the fourth recipient of the award, which recognizes woman who have made outstanding contributions to Florida agriculture. The owner and operator of the Deer Park Ranch in Osceola and Brevard counties, Kempfer is a shining example that women can have it all -- a family, a vocation and civic leadership. As a wife, mother of four, businesswoman and civic leader, she has demonstrated true leadership in her family, in agriculture and in her community.
She moved to Florida from Savannah, Ga., to be with her new husband, George Kempfer, on a ranch. She soon adjusted to life on a large cattle and timber operation, and never regretted moving to the country. She and George had four children, Billy, Reed, Doris and Ann.
When her husband died in 1962, Kempfer was left with four teenagers to raise and a 30,000-acre ranch to manage. A degree in business administration from Armstrong State College in Savannah, and the fact that her husband kept her informed on business decisions during his life, helped prepare her to run the ranch. With help from her children, whey they were not in school, Kempfer worked long hours to improve the quality of the cattle and ranch lands. Deer Park prospered.
Although holding the ranch and family together was always the top priority, Kempfer still found time to participate in civic activities. She filled the seat her husband had held on the Osceola County School Board and went on to be elected to two additional terms. She also served as director of the Brevard County Hospital Guild for 10 years and director of the Osceola Art and Culture Center. She is a charter member of the Eastminster Presbyterian Church and an active member of the PEO Sisterhood.
Kempfer has also been active in agricultural organizations at the county, state and national level. She served as the first woman director of both the Brevard County Farm Bureau and the Brevard County Cattlemen’s Association. She has also held offices and committee chairmanships in the National Cattlemen’s Association, the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, and the Florida CowBelles (now known as Florida Cattle Women, Inc.). In 1972 , she was named Outstanding "CowBelle of the Year" by the state organization. She is also a member of the Osceola County Silver Spurs Club.
The Kempfer family, led by Carolyn, is no stranger to awards. The family has been named "Outstanding Farm Family" in both Osceola and Brevard counties, and in 1979, Carolyn was named "First Lady of the Year" in Osceola County. In 1987, the Florida Association of County Agriculture Agents presented her with the "Outstanding Agriculturalist Award."