David Kemp Karnes
December 12, 1948 – October 25, 2020
He is survived by his wife, Kris and their two daughters, Katharine and Alexandra; daughters: Korey (Ryan) Huyler, Kalen (Chris) Strickland, Kara (Will) Mason. and Laurel (Nathan) Murphy; sisters, Nana (Jeff) Tonkin and Betsy (George) Max ; mother-in-law, Mary Lueder; in-laws, Merlyn and Phyllis Dorn; grandchildren: Elizabeth, Grace and Quinn Huyler, Connell and Logan Strickland, Riley and Madelyn Mason, and Kemp and Mikey Murphy; and many other beloved in-laws, nieces, and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Lewis Lunsford Karnes, Jr. and Marion Kemp Karnes; his wife, Elizabeth Lueder Karnes; and his father-in-law, Robert Lueder.
VISITATION observing CDC guidelines: Friday, November 6th from 3pm to 8pm at the West Center Chapel. SERVICES: Saturday, Nov. 7th at 10am at Dundee Presbyterian Church, 53rd & Underwood Streets. MASKS REQUIRED. Private Family Interment. To view live broadcast of the Funeral Service, go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Service” button on the home page.
In lieu of flowers please consider sending a memorial to one of the following: Kicks for a Cure (a benefit for Liz’s Legacy), Omaha Children’s Museum, AKSARBEN Foundation, or The Scottish Rite Foundation.
While the family would love to see old friends and reminisce about Dave’s amazing life with each of you in person, out of a concern for the safety of all and limited capacity due to COVID-19, we request that those wishing to pay their respects attend via livestream rather than in person.
David Kemp Karnes passed away peacefully on October 25, 2020 in Lincoln, Massachusetts, near Boston where he had been receiving cancer treatment. Dave was born December 12, 1948 to Marion and Lewis Lunsford Karnes, Jr. He attended high school at Benson High in Omaha and graduated in 1967. After high school he attended college at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, graduating in 1971. While there he competed as a swimmer and was a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, with which he remained active throughout his life. After college he attended the University of Nebraska College of Law, graduating in 1974.
In 1981 he was selected as a White House Fellow, serving as special assistant to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. He later continued working in the Reagan administration in various capacities. He also later served as a member of the United States Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations, as a former Chairman and member of the board of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka, and a member of the U. S. DOT/FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee. Dave also proudly served his beloved State of Nebraska as their United States Senator from 1987-1989.
After the Senate Dave returned to Omaha to join the law firm of Kutak Rock LLP. He greatly enjoyed his many colleagues and the corporate and governmental relations work he was able to do there helping clients all over the country navigate state and federal legislative and regulatory law.
Dave put his heart into making Omaha a wonderful place to live and was active in many professional and civic organizations, including the founding of Liz’s Legacy and Kicks for a Cure to raise money for local cancer research in honor of Liz, and the Omaha Children’s Museum, as well as helping to establish hockey at the University of Nebraska Omaha. He was active in Dundee Presbyterian Church, the AKSARBEN Foundation, the Omaha Airport Authority, and the Scottish Rite Foundation among many others. He was also an ardent supporter of Westside Community Schools, which were attended by his six daughters.
Dave loved his family above all else. In 1971 he married Elizabeth Lueder. Liz and Dave had a very active life and raised their four daughters during their 32-year marriage prior to her death in 2003. In 2008 he married Kristine Dorn and they enjoyed raising their two energetic young daughters together. Dave was surrounded by Kris and his daughters in his final days, and Kris was by Dave’s side when he passed. Dave cherished spending time with his family traveling around the world, attending Husker games, participating in sporting events and practices, spending time at Happy Hollow Club and celebrating family milestones. His love of adventure, his kindness to all, his willingness to connect people and help anyone he could, his endless curiosity and sense of humor, his strong faith and the twinkle in his eye will be sorely missed by many.