In Your NeighborhoodDeWitt - St. Johns


St. Johns mourns loss of Roger Dershem

Roger Dershem
Posted at 7:58 AM, May 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-08 13:19:09-04

The St. Johns community is mourning the loss of Roger Dershem, who passed away Wednesday at the age of 76.

Dershem was in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, and the owner of Dershey's Cafe in St. Johns with his wife Mary since 1997.

Dershem's younger brother Jim and Jim's fiance, Lu Whitford, said Roger wore many hats within the community, like loaning out hospital equipment.

"I recently had knee surgery, so he contributed to me with medical equipment for my three-moth rehab at home, and just took me to his little store and said, 'What do you need? You need a walker, you need this,'" Whitford said. "He was just such a giving man."

"Always giving," Jim added.

Roger Dershem was a member of the St. Johns Lions Club, the Knight of Columbus, a 50-year-member of the American Legion and the manager of the St. Johns Recycling Center.

"My dad was so involved in this community," Roger's daughter Dianne Dershem-Smith said. "The lives we've seen that he's touched these last few days is just amazing."

On top of everything else, Dershem was a friend.

"My fondest memory of Roger was when he was helping me out with my ramp," Lions Club President Kenny Kinsey said. "When I owned a house, he helped build the ramp for me."

The owners of Oh Mi Organics in St. Johns, right next door to Dershey's Cafe, said it was Dershem who inspired them to open up their shop.

"I first met Roger when I was working at a sign shop and he was coming in, and I would make him signs for the recycling center," owner of Oh Mi Organics Megen Hurst said. "We started making chocolate at home, and I started taking it into work, so I'd always give him a little piece when he came in. He kept saying, 'You should start a business with this.'"

When they did, he was right there to help.

"Finally one day we decided we're going to make a business out of this, but we needed a kitchen," Hurst said. "So, Roger offered his kitchen at the Knight's of Columbus, and so we started going up there after work and making chocolate and building our business and stuff, and he was always such a big supporter of us."

Dershem was a supporter of many, never shying away from getting things done. In fact, he regularly wore a hat that read, "Git R Done."

"We would see him drive down the sidewalk plowing snow, just a big old grin on his face," Hurst said.

Roger's funeral service was Friday morning.

"There is going to be brighter days, because I have a Git R Done angel watching over me, and I know my dad's going to be watching over all of us," Dershem-Smith said.

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Russell Shellberg

5:49 PM, Jun 03, 2022

Your Neighborhood Reporter

Russell Shellberg

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