Therese “Tara” Ann Marie Gemperline, 68, of Portsmouth, died Wednesday, April 26, 2023, at SOMC. She was born June 24, 1954, in Portsmouth, to the late Albert and Mary (Chandler) Gemperline. Tara was a florist for many years, until she became a radio personality and Programming Director for 104.1 WPAY in Portsmouth. Her start in radio came as a dispatcher for the Minford Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., where she subsequently became the first woman to join the Department. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a brother, Howard Gemperline, her former husband, John Kester, and her long-time companion, Douglas Braden.
She is survived by her two children, Jason Kester (Heather) of Grove City, Jessica Kester of Portsmouth, a brother, “A.J.” Gemperline (Betsy) of Massachusetts, two sisters, Mary Margaret “Peggy” Slocum (Richard) of Florida and Barbara Graybill (Rev. Robert) of Pennsylvania. She is also survived by her three grandchildren, Ethan Copas, Joseph Kester, and Hadley Kester, as well as many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Funeral Services will be 6:00 PM Monday, May 1, 2023, at Melcher Hammer Funeral Home in Portsmouth. A visitation for friends and family will be on Monday, beginning at 4:00 PM until the hour of service.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Tara to Sierra’s Haven for New and Used Pets.