A Tribute to Dennis Hermreck
The death of longtime friend, Dennis Hermreck, of neighboring Onaga, due to cancer, at age 57, has caused me to retrieve a multitude of cherished childhood memories and uniquely shared good experiences with him and other longtime friends.
We both grew up in Garnett, Kan., and we both attended Holy Angels Catholic School for grades 1 through 8. When I entered the first grade there, Dennis was in second grade, and both grades attended classes in the same classroom. We continued to share classrooms every other year through my eighth grade year at the school. Plus, we played a lot of sports together growing up.
There were about 15 students per grade at Holy Angels. Small, close-knit classes all through grade school. I'm sure, for example, that when it was my turn to learn how to participate in the daily morning mass as a server, that Dennis helped teach me how to do that. That was the protocol: The older kids taught the younger ones.
We weren't best friends, but we were good friends. We all were. And the friendships continued all through high school. Several times over the past several years, I visited with Dennis at various sporting events in northeast Kansas that our children were involved in. I watched him coach his teams. There is a special friendship forged when you attended school so many years together. I always thought Dennis would be a good sports announcer or a good coach. Turns out he was both.
An obituary for Dennis is published on page 5 of this edition, since he lived many years here in northeast Kansas, serving as a teacher and coach. Dennis was a good person. His teaching and coaching peers at the Seneca schools called him “a one in a million’’ type of teacher and coach. He would have liked that.