Sue Kemple

1/13/1969 South Amboy, New Jersey

"To love another person is to see the face of God." - Victor Hugo

The Playlist

Sue's Last Soundtrack

  • I Heard It Through The Grapevine - Single Version (Mono) Marvin Gaye

    Number one the day I was born.

  • In The Air Tonight - 2015 Remastered Phil Collins

    Those drums...

  • And We Danced The Hooters

    Last dance my siblings and I shared with my brother before he died.

  • Lightning Crashes Live

    Reminds me of the circle of life, specifically the power of giving birth to each of my sons not long before experiencing the death of my grandmother.

  • In Your Eyes Peter Gabriel

    Best love song ever. Pure poetry.

  • The Drum Battle Gene Krupa

    Those drums...

  • Supper's Ready - Live Version From Seconds Out Genesis

    Best song ever. And I don't care if you hate that it's 22 minutes long.

  • Solsbury Hill - 2002 album remaster version Peter Gabriel

    Story of my life time and time again. Yes, I'm an incorrigible fan of all members of Genesis. (Until 1986.)

  • The Mission: Gabriel's Oboe Ennio Morricone

    Sublime, gorgeous - I played it often around the time my father was dying... and someone else I love mentioned her love of this music just as I was writing about it, and just as we were getting to know each other. It felt transcendent.

My Playlist in Spotify

You Can Take the Girl Out of Jersey...

I was born in South Amboy, New Jersey, in a little old run down hospital, to a couple of young kids named Barbara and Richie, in 1969. I was the first and they weren’t exactly planning on me, but once they knew I was on the way, it was just the beginning. Thirty descendants in total, and counting – but who’s counting? Really, it’s hard to keep up.

We didn’t stay in South Amboy long, but New Jersey was my home for the first twenty-two years of my life. Our neighborhood was quintessential seventies middle-class: eat and sleep in your split-level brown house with green and pink shag carpet everywhere, but plan to be elsewhere the rest of the time. Elsewhere included acres of deep woods, a lake with a castle (it was the local community theater, but somebody thought it was a great idea to design it like a castle), and friends’ backyards, all filled with a bunch of random kids who came together to alleviate boredom through tackle football, make-believe, and dirt.

The Jersey attitude has stayed with me through the years, but the edges have been softened by the genteel environs of the place I eventually called home in North Carolina. Never did exactly figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. Was a writer for a few years, then a teacher, then a principal – I even ran the school I built. Good times. But then I went back to writing, and starting a few projects and businesses, and have since circled back round to death. Really, I’m just a serial entrepreneur. I get that spirit from my dad.

I think about death often, always – about how there has to be something beyond this life that's more real than this. I believe that the only two things that matter here are the ones that drive our consciousness from whatever is behind the veil: searching for truth, and loving each other. So my philosophy of life is simple: we are here to learn, and to love.

Family, Friends, Faith, and Football

  • The whole family - about eight people ago

  • My first born

  • Sweet boy

  • My first born meets his brother

  • Sweet baby

  • Giants fans from the start

  • Giants' fans forever

  • My brother

  • My other brothers

  • And another brother, a niece, and Mom

  • And my sisters... still missing one, hard to get us all together

  • Wait, now we're all together... except for maybe five or so

  • And more family - miss two of them dearly

  • Poppy and me

  • When there were only seven of them...

  • Dad

  • A handful of nieces and nephews

  • Me and my boys, early aughts

  • Me and my boys, some years later

  • Me and my boys now

  • My baby with a baby

  • My baby with his godchild

  • Gramma and the kids - love them all

  • My lucky sweatshirt - that's real love there

  • Love these two

  • Love this guy

  • Love her, too

  • Unless it's raining, your car shouldn't have a roof

  • The world is a beautiful place...

  • ...I've not seen enough of it...

  • ...but maybe more than most...

  • ...and I'm extremely grateful.

  • Cheers!

My Boys

the pride and joy of my life

After college, I got married – too soon. And just five days after that, my brother died in a car accident. Way too soon. His death wound up being the defining force in my life, and although the death itself was the most painful loss I've ever endured, the way it’s shaped my own life has been pretty profound. When my first son was born four years later, I named him for his uncle. Seeing that child lock his eyes on mine for the first time was, without question, the most incredible moment of my life.


I can’t say the same for the moment I met my second child, because there was a lot of trauma and screaming and, at ten and a half pounds, he was too large for me to be in awe of anything but that fact. But the years since with both of them have been more awesome than any parent deserves, as they are kind, generous, thoughtful, patient, strong young men. They are both rabid Giants fans, and football is our thing. It was for me and my dad, and now it is for me and them. There is nothing we all love more, except each other.