Hemphill was the son of a prominent family in Carrollton, Mississippi and grew up on the family's "Paloma" plantation. He began his college studies at Mississippi State, but was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II. He served in an artillery unit in the Phillipines before his discharge, then enrolled at the University of Mississippi where he eventually completed a bachelor's degree in management engineering.
Hemphill went on to work for B. F. Goodrich in Tuscaloosa. He spent a few years in Gadsden with the company in the 1970s before returning to Tuscaloosa. He was a long-time volunteer docent for the Westervelt-Warner Museum of Art, leading tours of the city for important visitors and planning fund-raisers and other social events. He worked with the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society to promote interest in historic buildings. He was also one of the founders, along with Jim and Jerry Hughey, of the "Friends of WUAL" which brought public radio programming to Tuscaloosa.
Hemphill died at Druid City Hospital and is buried in a family plot in Carrollton, Mississippi.
- Cobb, Mark Hughes (August 6, 2016) "Business and civic leader Vassar D. Hemphill Jr. dies." The Tuscaloosa News