Marjorie Phelps Kampenga, 96
Marjorie Phelps Kampenga, 96, Stevens Point, WI, daughter of the late Sara (Turner) and Joel H. Phelps, died Tuesday, July 1, 2014, attended by her daughter and family friend.
Mrs. Kampenga was born August 14, 1917 in Elkridge, MD and raised in Weirton, WV. The family moved to Oberlin, OH, where she graduated from high school June 13, 1934. She attended Oberlin Conservatory of Music-Oberlin College until 1936, transferring to the Cleveland Institute of Music from which she graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in 1939. She later received her Master of Music degree at Eastman School of Music-Rochester, NY in 1961.
After post-graduate studies at Cleveland Institute, she became a member of the opera division of the Tanglewood Music Festival School-Lenox, MA, in 1940, 1941, and 1944.
In 1941, Mrs. Kampenga became a finalist in the Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air, and in June of that year a finalist in the National Federation of Music contest. In the same year she won the Luccioni Opera Award.
She sang in radio broadcasts in Cleveland and Chicago where she was a featured soloist on the Carnation Contented Hour with Percy Faith.
Mrs. Kampenga filled solo engagements with the Cleveland, OH; Chautauqua, NY; Wheeling, WV; and Stevens Point symphony orchestras, and sang opera in Cleveland, Toledo, Chautauqua and Montreal (Canada).
She filled oratorio engagements in New York City and Albany, NY; Worcester, MA; Lindsborg, KS; and Cleveland. During her singing career, Mrs. Kampenga was a soloist in churches and synagogues in the east and midwest.
During World War II, she sang extensively with the U.S.O. (United Services Organizations) and the American Theater Wing.
Her teaching career included positions at the Bronx House Music School-New York, NY; the Cleveland Institute of Music; MacMurray College-Jacksonville, IL; Drake University-Des Moines, IA; University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; and the Wausau Conservatory of Music.
Her marriage to Paul Gerson of New York City ended in divorce in 1957. On May 19, 1985, she married Nelis R. Kampenga, retired librarian and archivist of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He preceded her in death on February 5, 2004.
She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Sara Gerson (Dennis) Klawitter, Wausau; one sister, Virginia Phelps Clancy, Raleigh, NC; four nieces, Judy (Warren) Sturm and Jinny Clancy, Charlotte NC; Marilyn (William) Taggart, Gaysville, VT; Janet (Norman) Gull, Arroyo Grande, CA; five nephews, Tim (Carroll) Clancy and Tick Clancy, Raleigh, NC; Todd (Maria) Clancy, Bald Head Island, NC; Evan (Flossie) Gull, Aspen, CO; and Tom (Margaret) Gull, Rockville, MD.
In addition to her parents, Marjorie was preceded in death by one brother, Joel H. Phelps, Jr., Raleigh, NC; her sister and brother-in-law, Dorothy and Dake Gull, Gaithersburg, MD; and brother-in-law, Ernest Irving Clancy, Raleigh, NC.
Her daughter wishes to thank Marjorie’s wonderful family and friends for all of their love, support, and friendship for so many years. And a special thank you to Mary Hofer and Nancy Cywinski for their wonderful love and help during Marjorie’s illness. Thank you also to Ministry Hospice.
Marjorie was loved and admired by so very many people and she will be terribly missed. She lived an extraordinary life. Her family and friends can take solace in knowing she is finally at peace and is singing beautifully once again.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Cleveland Institute of Music-Development Office, 11021 East Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44106, or to the Wausau Conservatory of Music-Barbara Lattimer Voice Studio, 404 Seymour Street, Wausau, WI 54403.
A memorial service will be held 4:00 p.m., Thursday, August 14, 2014 at Boston Funeral Home, Stevens Point. Visitation will be held prior to the service from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the funeral home.
She will be buried alongside her parents and brother at Union Cemetery, Steubenville, OH. Along with her name, Marjorie requested the following inscription on her marker, “Vissi D’Arte,” which translated means, “I Lived for Art.”