Melrose – Seraphim Nativity pieces are displayed in a curio cabinet in Betty and Marv Kemper’s Melrose home. There’s Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, lambs and three wisemen. They are surrounded by seraphim angels, some playing instruments, like a harp and trumpet, and some are singing. In another curio are more seraphim angels.

Angels hold a special place in Betty’s heart, something she figures dates back to when she was a young child, growing up in a house on the west side of Melrose with her four brothers, Bob, Larry, Jerry and Pat, raised by their parents Eleanor and Leo Breth. 

“When I was small, my First Communion book had a little girl kneeling and praying with an angel on the white book, and I loved that picture,” Betty said Dec. 5, sitting around their livingroom table talking about her collection of angels.

The Seraphim Classic Collection debuted in 1995, and the resin-cast porcelain and marble figurines possessed a celestial beauty. With grace and elegance seraphim angels, some 12 inches tall featured elaborately detailed wings, graceful flowing gowns and angelic features, according to the Internet. 

Betty’s collection of more than 50 seraphim angels dates back to the late 1990s. Some were gifted to her for Christmas, but most she purchased at Kuhlmann Drug Store in Melrose, from Ruth Kuhlmann, whose husband Eddie was the pharmacist. One of Betty’s most recent angels, which sits outside their front door, also has a Kuhlmann connection. The Kempers’ grandson Wes and wife Mariya Kemper and daughter Ivy live in the former Ruth and Eddie Kuhlmann house, and they gifted Betty with a large angel that sat outside the home when they bought it. 

Betty said seraphim angels were not cheap, estimating hers ranged in price from $40 to $250. She used extra money from her drapery business to purchase seraphim angels. She was a frequent customer at Kuhlmann Drug Store, eyeing angels displayed in a glass case, some she eventually added to her collection. 

“Ruth didn’t have many angels, but if they didn’t sell she marked the price down – a little bit,” Betty said.

Each angel that found a home in the Kempers’ house has a name and a different theme. 

Betty and Marv have lived in Melrose their whole married life, where they raised three children – Shannon (Mary Beth) of Melrose, Stacy (Jess) Roering of the Twin Cities and Glen (Sara) of Melrose. They have seven grandchildren, two step-grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

Ironically, the name of grandson Wyatt’s fiancée is Angel. 

Some seraphim angels are holding flowers, instruments and doves, with children in their arms or at their feet.  They are all in soft pastel colors. Betty mentions the Felicia Adoring Maiden seraphim angel Glen and Sara gave her in 1998.

“I’ve even got an angel named Elizabeth,” Betty said, adding that’s her baptized name.  

In a Seraphim Classic book Betty has crossed out angels in her collection. She laughs when saying she thought she had a lot of these angels only to discover there were many more. Most of her angels are now retired so they are not able to be purchased new.  

Betty talks about other angels – not Seraphim Classics – displayed around their house, including a large angel with wings that lights up and turns colors. 

Three angels she received recently from their daughter, Stacy Roering, belonged to Stacy’s father-in-law Gerald, who recently passed away. One is the seraphim angel Arianna Winter’s Warmth.

“The angel is holding a snowflake and has snowflakes on her gown,” Betty said. 

Her seraphim Nativity pieces are just displayed over Christmas, placed in a prominent place in her curio. Another special display is a crib and other Nativity pieces that Betty inherited from her Mom.  She talks about possibly placing some of her seraphim angels in that display. 

She doesn’t have a favorite angel. She enjoys looking at them in their lighted curios.

“They are all so pretty,” said Betty of her angels.  “I love ‘em all.”