Newman alumnus and former National Alumni Board member Dennis Hemken died July 12 from cancer. Hemken, 67, was a 1973 graduate of Kansas Newman College and an Alumni Board member from 2011 to 2015.
Hemken was a retired Boeing finance analyst. He served in the U.S. Navy/Reserve, retiring as a Sr. Chief Petty Officer, was a choir member at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, and a core volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. He enjoyed photography, horsemanship and growing orchids.
Many members of Dennis Hemken’s family are also Newman alumni, including his brother David (1974), sisters Dolores (Hemken) Ewald (1971), Doris (Hemken) Gerik (1972), and Diane (Hemken) Stump (1977), and niece Clare (Hemken) Ewald (2009).
In addition to the above-mentioned family members, Hemken is survived by his wife Linda Sue, six children, 15 grandchildren, sister Debra (Hemken) Sontheimer, and several nieces and nephews.
Former Newman National Alumni Board President and 1987 graduate Tad Druart sent a message to fellow board members July 6 when he learned that Hemken had entered hospice care. Druart wrote, “Dennis has served Newman and our alumni association for many years. He has always been a calming influence with me and even when he was not feeling well, he would somehow garner the energy to stay engaged and supportive. He is a good friend, a good man, and a wonderful dad and grandfather.”
The Wake will be 7 p.m. Friday, July 17; Funeral Mass at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 18, both at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. A memorial has been established with Habitat For Humanity, 420 E. English, #B, Wichita, KS 67202. Online tributes to the family are at www.dlwichita.com.