Dear Friends,

It is my sad duty to inform the CoPA community that Ramona Kemp-Blair died peacefully on September 3, 2018. She was the wife of Henry Kemp-Blair, who was instrumental in developing the theatre program at Chapman University over a 25-year tenure, and in whose honor we have named the Henry Kemp-Blair Shakespeare Festival held every year on our campus since 1974.

Mrs. Kemp-Blair was born in Oklahoma in 1930 and, after moving to California, met her husband while they were both at Chapman College: they married in 1951. After receiving a B.A. in Education from Chapman in 1952, she taught school throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties for the next 40 years, all while raising three daughters. She went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Education after her husband’s death in 1986.

Ramona was a very active member of the First United Methodist Church of Orange, and was also very involved in the life of Chapman, supporting the theatre program as well as numerous other organizations, including Town and Gown. One of her daughters, Iris Gerbasi, is a member of the Chapman family and currently serves as Assistant Provost.

A celebration of Ramona’s life will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, October 27, at the First United Methodist Church of Orange located at 161 S. Orange Street. A reception will follow. The family asks that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the United Methodist Women’s Missions, the church’s ministry and music programs, and the church’s education program, all at First United Methodist Church of Orange.

Please join me in sending our warmest condolences to her family.


Giulio Ongaro, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor