Our “Getting to Know Us” series would not be complete without a report on my parents, Walt and Clarice Dengel. Four years ago, they moved back home after spending 15 winters in Florida.
Dad isn’t working full-time, but close to it. He doesn’t work in the office anymore but is here for every funeral and is in charge of visitations. It gives him the chance to be among old friends and acquaintances and the opportunity to meet new people. He likes to reminisce with families about their loved ones and it makes him feel good to help facilitate a celebration of life that will help families remember the good times. He helps in so many other ways; I don’t know how we managed without him.
As for my Mom, she keeps her hand in too. She makes sure the funeral home looks good and up-to-date. Last year we re-decorated and she was in charge. This year she is updating our funeral home in Osawatomie.
Today, we would like to tell you about Bob Redeker. He has been working part-time for us since 1998. You will see him at our visitations and funerals greeting visitors and making everyone feel comfortable.
He taught school for 33 years at Central Heights. There are not many people he doesn’t know, especially from the southern part of the county, so when he greets people coming to the funeral home; many times, he is greeting old friends and acquaintances. He especially likes to see his former students.
Bob grew up in Olpe, Kansas (where Clarice grew up). Bob graduated from St. Joseph High School at Olpe and continued his education at K-State and Emporia State. He and his wife, Mary, have five children and eight grandchildren and spend much of their free time enjoying their grandchildren’s activities. Bob also enjoys family gatherings, going to coffee with friends, gardening and reading.
Today, we would like to tell you about Tony Stottlemire who has worked for us for fourteen years. When we have a burial, Tony sets up the tent, chairs and equipment. It is Tony who places the casket in the vault and sees to it that it is properly sealed. When he is not doing grave set-ups, he is setting monuments. He takes pride in his work and extra precautions to make sure the monuments remain straight and stable.
Tony is a Franklin County native who grew up in rural Rantoul and went to Central Heights School, K thru 12. When he was in high school he lettered all four years in track and football. In fact, he qualified all four years to go to “state” in track.
Sports is in his blood, so it is no wonder much of his spare time is spent either watching or coaching his two girls, Emma and Piper. He and his wife Michelle spend many hours at the softball field enjoying their girls.
Today, we would like to tell you about Scott Dickinson who has been with us for almost 2 years. He works for us part-time and his job description varies from day to day, sometimes hour by hour. Many times, you will see him working a funeral or visitation. He also helps with “first calls” (the removal of remains). Other times he is at the funeral home doing whatever needs to be done. We are glad to have him; he is just what we needed.
Scott has lived in Ottawa more than 30 years and was the pastor of Wesleyan Church for more than 25 years. He continues helping people by being the chaplain for the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department. He grew up in Falconer, New York and came to the Midwest to get his college degree.
Scott and his wife Ianne brought up two children, Shawn and Christina and have two grandchildren. In his spare time Scott enjoys magic, fishing, NASCAR racing and biking.
Today, we would like to tell you about Lee Crane who has worked for us two years. We were looking for someone to work part-time to help with funerals, visitations and to go on “first calls” when there is a death. We feel very fortunate to have found Lee. If you have attended a visitation or funeral, you probably interacted with a kind and helpful, well dressed gentleman. That gentleman was Lee. When he goes to a home or a hospital for a “death call”, he is very professional and kind. He is a man you can trust.
He retired from the US Navy and has traveled the world over twice and has been in every state in the nation. He still enjoys traveling with his wife JoAnna. He grew up in this part of the country and attended various schools, including Ottawa.
He enjoys many activities including fishing, golfing, biking, as well as yoga, martial arts, woodworking and gardening.
Today, we would like to tell you about Joyce Boyd. She is our secretary who began working for us in 2003. We have all come to depend on her efficiency, secretarial skills, knowledge of filing insurance claims, and kind manner. She also has a talent for helping families put onto paper what they want to convey in the obituary.
Joyce grew up in Wichita. She graduated from Wichita High School South and attended college in Springfield, Missouri. She was a stay-at-home mom and enjoyed homeschooling her four children. In addition, Joyce was a pastor’s wife for thirty years; a roll that she was privileged to hold. As her parents aged, she became their caregiver.
In her free time, she enjoys hosting gatherings for family and friends. She also keeps busy reading, sewing, baking, and going on walks.
Today, we would like to tell you about Jon Wiggins, our longtime employee, funeral director, embalmer and cremation specialist. He started working in 1985 part-time when he was in high school. It is no exaggeration to say Jon has contributed much to our success. We value his dedication and talent very much. His work is unparalleled when it comes to embalming and preparing a loved one for viewing. He knows how important this is to families in helping facilitate the grief process.
Jon is an Ottawa native, went to school here and married his high school sweetheart, Theresa Maes, who teaches at Ottawa Middle School. They raised three boys, Hayden, Bryce and Drew. In his free time, Jon enjoys doing things with his family, playing golf and traveling. He has become quite skilled in cooking and backyard barbequing. Jon and family are members of Westminster Presbyterian Church of Ottawa.