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Civil War Round Table of Kansas City

Susan Keipp Bio

Susan Keipp has faithfully served as treasurer of our Round Table since taking over for Paul Gault in February of 2015. Susan is in charge of paying our bills, taking dinner reservations, coordinating with the Holiday Inn, collecting annual dues and payments for the dinner meetings and book sales, preparing financial statements, filing corporate reports to maintain our 501(c)(3) status, etc. She also greets everyone who attends the Round Table dinner meetings. Being treasurer is a big job, but one that Susan is uniquely qualified for. We asked Susan to tell us about herself and how she got interested in the Civil War. Susan graciously provided the following information:

I was bom in Davenport IA and am the oldest of five children. My family moved to Fergus Falls MN when I was a baby and then moved to our farm in Colfax IA when I was eight years old. We farmed and raised, broke, and trained register quarter horses.

I spent my years there until receiving a scholarship to Cottey College in Nevada MO, and have remained in Missouri ever since.

I received an Entrepreneur scholarship to Avila College. I did some studies at UMKC and Rockhurst College until my fourth year of college was stopped short one March by Stage 4 ovarian cancer. I was given four months to live, but had a young oncologist, Dr. Mark Davidner, who had just come down from Canada, and I credit him with saving my life. He put me on an experimental drug called cisplatin, which they still use today. That was 37 years ago!

I owned a commercial construction company that mainly built schools. We did mechanical work for general contractors - below slab, above slab, running gas and water lines, and setting fixtures. I was doing an audit on this company where the owner was stealing from the company. The general contractor asked me if I could get a crew together and take over finishing some jobs. (Note: Susan was listed in Who's Who in America during the Construction portion of her life.)

I worked for Kessinger-Hunter managing property in the downtown area and have worked at preparing tax returns for over 40 years.

I joined the Air Force Sergeants Association and am a lifetime member. We worked with the base and wing commander of Richards-Gebaur Ah Force Base, doing air shows for many years. I was appointed by the mayors of Kansas City to be Chief of Protocol for the Base Community Council, which is a liaison between the military and the civilian community. I served in that capacity for many years. I was the editor of an award winning newsletter for the Air Force Sergeants Association. While at Richards-Gebaur, five of us bought a Cessna 150 and took flying lessons. I have been a pilot now for about 25 years.

Along the way I joined Sweet Adelines, a 4-part harmony barbershop organization, and this year I am celebrating my 50th year as a member. Those of us who accomplished this will be recognized at our international competition in New Orleans LA this fall. There is a travel offshoot with this. There are about 40-45 women (and spouses, if they like to come along) who travel together each June. The group is called Tropical Harmony and includes ladies from 28 states, England, Germany, and Canada. We have traveled to Italy, Greece, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Africa, Pent, England, Scotland, Ireland, and France, singing in every cathedral we can find - the acoustics are great!

I have been singing since I was six years old. I sang in high school - solos, trio, sextet, madrigal, chorus. I love jazz and have done gigs with some of our outstanding musicians here in Kansas City. I am also on the Board of the KC International Jazz Festival.

I have been a genealogist for 47 years, and have looked at a lot of microfiche, before the Internet! This has taken me traveling also. I love to read - archaeology, history, and mysteries.

I have been a volunteer with the Red Cross and spent five weeks in New Orleans LA helping victims from Hurricane Katrina. I volunteered for many years with Christmas in October. My main volunteer focus now is assisting homeless veterans and I volunteer at St. Michael's Veterans Center. We have moved 120 homeless veterans into apartments there, and have another 120 apartments on the drawing board. The year before last the federal government cut funding for low income housing so construction is still on hold.

We asked Susan how she got interested in the Civil War and the Civil War Round Table of Kansas City.

Forty-seven years ago, my aunt gave me a bunch of letters from my grandmother's brother that were written during WWII. Hidden amongst the letters was a letter written during the Civil War from my great-great-grandfather telling of the Battle of Ft. Dorthea. There were five brothers who fought in the Civil War. They felt they should defend their new home.

I originally joined the Round Table in 1998 because I wanted to leam more about the Civil War. I didn't attend for a while, but I started back in 2007, when Deb Goodrich was president.

What do I like best about the Round Table? Not the chocolate mousse! What I like best is seeing and visiting with friends. It always amazes me that everyone knows so much! I used to have an entire wall mapped with the "North" and the "South", so I could keep the Civil War officers straight!

We asked Susan about her epic horseback ride along the Oregon Trail. Susan said: "I rode in 1993 when they celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Oregon Trail -1843-1993. There was a gentleman from Cody WY who built five wagons to spec, had them shipped to Independence MO, and he and his three daughters (the 5th wagon one was for supplies) left from there to Oregon - about 2,000 miles. It took them almost six months to reach the mouth of the Columbia River. I only traveled about four months with them, by horseback, and we slept in cavalry tents. I only had about three baths that entire time! I got interested in the Oregon Trail, as I, my dad, and most of my family rode parts of the Santa Fe Trail on their celebration ride from Santa Fe NM to Benjamin Stables in Kansas City. We used to raise, break, and train registered horses, so it just seemed the normal thing to do."

Susan has had quite an interesting life and we are very grateful for the work that she does for our Round Table. Thank you, Susan, for sharing your story with us.

Civil War Round Table of Kansas City
4125 NW Willow DR
Kansas City, MO 64116

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