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MEDICINE PARK, Oklahoma (KSWO) – Doug Kemper, founder of the Medicine Park Aquarium and Science Center, passed away earlier this month.
Doug Kemper spent the last few years of his life building and bringing to life the Medicine Park Aquarium and Natural Sciences Center.
He wanted the people in southwest Oklahoma to know what was in their backyard.
Kemper opened his first aquarium in Seattle in 1973. Years later he opened another in Galveston and the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks.
“He was brilliant, he could see and draw things, design them and then bring them to life,” said Rainette Rowland.
Rowland was devastated when she heard from her friend, who was over 20 years old. They worked together when the aquarium was built in Jenks and the medicine park.
“He was my mentor. I’ve learned so much from him and I feel like I still have so much to learn. There will be big footsteps to fill and I’ll just do my best to honor him and keep this facility going with all of our employees and keeping his legacy alive, ”said Rowland.
Nicole Rowe said whenever she needed or wanted to know something, Kemper always had the right answer.
“He knew a little bit about everything, about art, about history. If you don’t know what a flower is, ask Doug. If you don’t know what an animal is, ask Doug and he knew, ”said Rowe.
Rowe said she was completely shocked when she heard the news.
“I was not expecting that. We expected him to retire, but was always there to answer the phone if we had any questions or needed help with anything. So it’s scary not even having him on the other side of the phone, ”Rowe said.
To commemorate him, his colleagues plan to erect a memorial at the aquarium in his honor.
His funeral will take place on August 31st at 10.30 a.m. in the Becker-Rabon funeral home.
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