December 20, 1950 - November 10, 2021
Enjoy our memories of Dennis / Denny / Dad below. Please add one of your favorite stories of him for us all to enjoy on this website. Dennis Alan Mekemson passed away on November 10, 2021, from Frontotemporal Dementia, at home with his loving family by his side in Libertyville, IL. Beloved husband of Sheryl Schrepfer-Mekemson, sweethearts from the age of 16, dedicated father to son Newell (Matthew) Mekemson and daughter Catherine Mekemson, both of San Diego, CA. Preceded in death were his parents G. Earl and Pauline (Green) Mekemson formerly of Fort Madison IA, sister Kay Lynne Myers, Kansas City, MO, Stanton and Ernestine Schrepfer formerly of Fort Madison, IA. He is survived by his brother Dr. Robert (Laura) Mekemson of Exeter, CA and brother-in-law Charles Myers, Kansas City, MO. He loved all his in-laws: notably, his Mother and Father in law, Ernestine and Stanton Schrepfer, formerly of Fort Madison, IA, who considered him a third son; Terry and Paulette (Davis) Schrepfer, Fort Madison IA, Sheila (Schrepfer) and Dana Rodenbaugh, Woodland Park, CO and Kurt and Lynn (Bauer) Schrepfer, Shawnee, KS, and his niece and nephews. Dennis (“Mek’) was a basketball and football player for Fort Madison Bloodhounds. He was an avid guitar and banjo player, loved sailing, skiing, the beach in Carmel, California, and especially whale watching at Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Cape Cod. Golfing was a favorite pastime and he loved playing with his Golden Retrievers. Dennis was a 1972 graduate of University of Iowa with a triple major in business, insurance, and marketing. He dedicated 48 years to his career in insurance, specializing in reinsurance and treaty underwriting, most notably ending his career as senior Vice President of treaty underwriting at SCOR-RE, Chicago. After retirement, he served on the board for IFG Companies, NY. He made many friends world-wide and loved the insurance industry due to the people he met. Sheryl’s cherished memories of her beloved: “Dennys’ sense-of-humor and positive attitude could always pull me from the doldrums or exasperation with a hug or smile. We had moved back to Libertyville in 2011. Preparing to visit our kids, I was doing loads of laundry when Denny told me we had a flood in the basement! Boxes upon boxes were stacked down there from the move. As he brought each soaking, wet box to the garage, I was simply beside myself in tears. Denny shortly arrived with one of our artificial Christmas trees, marching towards me while singing , “we need a little a Christmas, RIGHT this very minute!” (from Broadway musical “Mame,” 1966). I melted into his wrap-around hug.” “We ALWAYS held hands walking anywhere for the past 55 years.” Matthew Newell remembers his Dad: “As my father’s son, I have so many good memories of my Dad, and it’s hard to narrow down to just a few – but I’d like to share a few that come to mind when I think about childhood and growing up. My Dad is the one who taught me manners, class, and grace. I haven’t yet mastered the patience he had when we were kids, but I witnessed the small miracle of his patience all the time growing up. Never in my life did I hear him raise his voice when speaking to my mother. My Dad was the one I would go to when I wanted to get something, or to do something, because I knew my mom would simply say, ‘No’ The regular response my Dad would give me, whether it was to get ice cream, or to have a sleepover, was, ‘we’ll see…’ Whenever my Dad said this, I knew it would ALWAYS turn into a ‘yes.’ There was NEVER a time that ‘we’ll see’ turned into a ‘no.’ I remember him reading to me before bedtime; both of my parents read to me from a very young age, but my Dad continued reading to me on the floor of my bedroom until at least the age of 11. I would look over his shoulder from my twin bed and follow along, as he would read a chapter from King Arthur’s Court. The story was in old English, and as he read, he would translate it so I could understand. He continued to give me piggyback rides up the stairs at bedtime until I was probably 12. When I was in Boy Scouts, we would have a monthly camping trip on the weekends. My Dad always came along as a chaperone, yet remained very hands off so I could enjoy my fun. He enjoyed the outdoors, and it gave me so much comfort knowing he was there all weekend. My Dad was always meticulously groomed and dressed. He would always wear a polo or collared shirt, no matter the temperature or occasion. It gives me great pride that we were able to preserve his dignity, hygiene and grooming in his own home. One of the last things I did with him was give him a fresh haircut outside on a crisp, sunny afternoon. He deserved to look his best, as he had always maintained for himself. Dad, I know I made you proud, and I am honored to have had the opportunity to care for you. These are nursing skills I would have never had if it weren’t for your support. I love you, Dad. We love you Dad, we always have, and always will. I cannot thank you enough for the life, love, memories, and wisdom you provided us. You will continue to live on through us, in so many ways. Thank you for continuing to watch over us, like a hawk.” Catherine remembers her dad: “He was the best and most handsome man I know. He played guitar under my mom’s windowsill when they were 16, and in marriage, would pick a single rose from the yard and leave a handwritten note by the coffee pot from her ‘Mr. Mick-el-son’ along with his famous smiley wearing a top hat. He was known to run ahead of an elderly couple to make sure to get the door for them and would always make sure there were donuts in the kitchen the morning after a sleep-over. He would be the first one in a swimming pool so he could make a fountain with his hand and splash you until you joined him. I loved going to early Saturday movies and then sneaking in a second one only to be caught by the theater management and laughing on their way out. He was always so genuinely happy and had such a zest for adventure. He was a straight shooter in a business environment, was looked up to by many, and a real class act. I have met very few men that can hold a candle to my dad.“ We couldn't have made it through the past several years without the support of many relatives, friends and neighbors. Sheila, his sister in law, provided administrative guidance with paperwork and legal organization. Eric and Sue with love, physical aid and medical assistance. Jackie and Rick for weekly goodies to Denny and construction of wheelchair ramps around our home. Anne and Paul, Jim and Hope, Fran, Eileen with home cooked food and soups, emotional support and continued prayers, and to many other caring neighbors and friends. Dedicated Caregivers who became part of our family: Merzena, Monica, Laura who treated me and Denny with utmost care and sincere respect. A Celebration of Life will be held in the Spring. Please contact family for details by sending your email or snail mail address. For more information on Frontotemperal Dementia (FTD), please see: www.brain.northwestern.edu/dementia/ftd/signs or theaftd.org In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution in Dennis’ memory to: Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology (specifically for FTD) at www.brain.northwestern.edu/about/giving.html Please visit www.burnettdane.com for a full version of the obituary and to leave a memory.
Enjoy our memories of Dennis / Denny / Dad below. Please add one of your favorite stories of him for us all to enjoy on this website. Dennis Alan Mekemson passed away on November 10, 2021, from Frontotemporal Dementia, at home with his loving... View Obituary & Service Information
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