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Our loving mother, grandmother and aunt, Birgit Marie Hempel peacefully passed away at home on February 9, 2014. The best Mom ever! Birgit was born on May 4, 1922 in Skaelskor, Denmark, the daughter of Pastor Einar Thygesen Kragh and Mrs. Elise Magdalene Kragh and sister to Thyge and Eigil Kragh, all of whom predeceased her. As a young girl, Birgit loved to dance and sing, and she participated in several plays. During World War II, Birgit lived in Copenhagen where she attended school and where she met her husband of 44 years, Soren Knud Hempel, who preceded her in death in June, 1987. Birgit and Soren immigrated to the United States in June, 1946, with their three small children and lived in San Francisco and Berkeley. Birgit worked as a Buyer for the White House Department Store until she gave birth to her fourth child in 1960. She devoted the next 25 years to raising her three youngest daughters, who are 14 to 23 years younger than her first three children. During that time Birgit was also a very active volunteer, primarily with her daughters' schools and the California 4-H organization. In 1968, Birgit and family moved to Acampo, California where they lived on a small ranch and where she actively engaged with the San Joaquin County 4-H Council and the California 4-H Leadership Council. She served in virtually every leadership position in both organizations and served as statewide President of the California 4-H Leadership Council from 1983 to 1987. She enjoyed travelling around the country to attend 4-H meetings and conferences, visiting her family and friends, seeing new places and meeting new people. Birgit enjoyed camping and taking trips to Dillon Beach, Calaveras Big Trees and Yosemite with her family. In her later years, she enjoyed attending performances at the Mondavi Center. With her children grown and herself still quite energetic, Birgit moved to Davis, California where she continued her 4-H volunteer activities and went back to work full-time for 15 years as an administrative assistant at the Small Farm Center at UC Davis, finally retiring at age 86. Birgit loved roses and she had a special rose for each of her children, their spouses, and her grandchild. They will have a living reminder of her love of life and beauty whenever the roses bloom. Birgit is survived and sadly missed by her six children Morten Hempel, Jasper (Amey) Hempel, Anne (Flemming) Hempel, Karin Hempel (Tom Clarke), Lisa Hempel, Britta (Greg) Hempel Hebert, one granddaughter Kirsten (Brook) Hempel Moxley, a niece Bente Kragh, and a grandniece, Liselotte Horneman Kragh. Birgit will be sorely missed by her many, many friends and loving family. At her request, there will be a private family service. In lieu of flowers, gifts can be directed to the California 4-H Foundation for the Leadership program, 2801 Second St, Davis, CA 95618 or made online by going to www.ca4hfoundation.org and clicking on the "Support" tab to find the "Donate Now" button toward the bottom of the page.
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