Painter liked old Hazlehurst buildings
Dorothy Riley Kemp of Hazlehurst painted her hometown, leaving a colorful legacy that remind locals of days gone by..
She started painting at an early age, but painted more when was older. She used varied mediums, but favored watercolor, and displayed her works in exhibits in Crystal Springs, Hazlehurst and McComb where she won ribbons.
Born on Halloween in 19ll to John and Zoula Riley, owners of the Hazlehurst Machine Shop, she was crowned Miss Hazlehurst and earned a Master of Arts Degree at Mississippi College after graduating from Hazlehurst High School and attending Co-Lin. She married city and local practicing attorney Carroll Abram Kemp, had one son, Carroll Kemp, Jr, was a long-time member of Hazlehurst First Baptist Church, where she taught Bible classes, played the organ and sang in the choir; and was a member and regent of the Hazlehurst chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Her favorite painting subjects were local establishments and historic buildings, such as Hazlehurst High School. The overhead bridge in Hazlehurst next to Pete’s Dairy Bar is a local favorite painting. Some of her paintings feature people, with one depicting the children in her Bible class eating a watermelon under a tree. Beside buildings, other things served as her subject matters, including beautiful yellow daffodils that her friend Kathy Hildago asked her to paint.
Many homes, offices and churches display her works and several are in the collection of George Covington Memorial Library.
Kemp died on July 4, 1992, and is buried in Hazlehurst Cemetery with her husband, son, parents and siblings.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Throughout the 2023 Copiah County Bicentennial year, Wesson News will feature sketches of past and present visual artists, musicians, authors and photographers who are natives of the county. They will be excerpted from Tricia Nelson’s reporting in A Shared History: Copiah County, Mississippi 1823-2023 edited and compiled by Paul C. Cartwright and available through Cartwright for $25 plus $5 for shipping at 3 Waverly Circle, Hattiesburg, MS 39402. Nelson is a Crystal Springs writer who contributes to the Copiah County Monitor.