Serving those who have served our country

David Woods Kemper

1919 - 1945

David Woods Kemper

A native Kansas Citizen, David Woods Kemper was valedictorian of his class at Pembroke Country Day School where he enjoyed all forms of athletics, particularly horsemanship. After undergraduate study at Harvard and graduate work at Stanford, he enlisted in the army in 1942. His first assignment in the Calvary was followed by a shift to the Armored Division.

David was killed on the Italian battle front in WWII, just a few days after he sent word to his father that he was “back in action” after a previous injury. Italy surrendered just days after David’s death. 

The David Woods Kemper Memorial Foundation was established in 1946, by his father James M. Kemper, Sr., and his brother, James M. Kemper, Jr. Since then, the foundation has assisted numerous organizations around Kansas City in memory of David Woods Kemper.


The Muse of the Missouri

Sculpted in 1963 and dedicated to David Woods Kemper in December of that year, the Muse of the Missouri sits in the heart of downtown Kansas City.

Based on classical mythology, this creation of artist Wheeler Williams personifies a goddess bestowing her interest and guidance on the Missouri River.

In 2016, James M. Kemper, Jr., founded a separate entity, the David Woods Kemper Veterans Foundation, specifically to aid veteran-based programs and research in Kansas and Missouri. This new foundation was established as a privately funded 501(c)4 non-profit organization.

Images of the Muse of the Missouri courtesy of and taken by William Fischer, Jr