OBITUARY

Dennis A. Diederich

July 11, 1936August 29, 2020

Dennis A. Diederich died on August 29, 2020. He was born on July 11, 1936 in Greenleaf, Kansas. He grew up on the family farm with two brothers and seven sisters, and his love for farming and family remained a constant. He attended college at Benedictine in Atchison, Kansas where he met the love of his life, Alice. Denny attended the St. Louis University School of Medicine and completed his residency in nephrology at the University of Kansas. Dr. Diederich joined the KU Department of Internal Medicine in 1967. Serving as the Medical Director of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Denny helped establish the hemodialysis and Kidney and Pancreas Transplant program at KUMC. His leadership was responsible for the enormous success of the program and he oversaw over 2000 kidney and pancreas transplants. He and his wife Alice also conducted pioneering research that led to new treatments for Sickle Cell Anemia.

Denny was a tireless advocate for patients with kidney disease and an inspiring teacher and mentor for generations of students, residents, fellows and junior faculty. Observing the transformation of a student into an outstanding, caring, bright physician was one of his greatest joys. To that end, Denny and Alice established an endowment fund to further enhance medical education of future students and residents. Dr. Diederich received countless professional honors throughout his long career in medicine. However, his true legacy is in the small, quiet, and personable moments that he shared with so many. Moments with his patients at their darkest times, moments of joy and sorrow with his brothers and sisters, and moments of tenderness with his beautiful wife, Alice. He was loved and respected by so many because of who he was, not just what he accomplished. If the 1000s of patients and trainees and colleagues that Denny worked with could say one thing it would be that, "You changed our lives."

Denny was a brilliant doctor, gifted listener, and devoted teacher; but one of his biggest gifts was putting people at ease. He was as comfortable in his lab coat as he was in his overalls, and he cherished his relationships with his patients, co-workers and family members. Denny could tell a story like no one else, and he was a master at connecting with people. He and his wife Alice were married for 61 years, and their devotion and deep love for one another was visible until the very end. They worked together, traveled together, and built a wonderful life together in Overland Park.

Denny is preceded in death by his parents, Benedict and Vivian Diederich and his sister, Colette Huerter. He leaves behind his loving wife, Alice; as well as siblings, Dean (Mary Ellen) Diederich, Jeanine (Denny) Hummell, Marcia (Nelson) Newcomer, Carol (Ray) Lyon, Paul (Sherry) Diederich, Bernadette (Rich) Cole, Marilyn (Ben) Kramer, and Dee (Larry) Wieden.

Due to covid-19, funeral services will remain private. In lieu of flowers, please contact McGilley & Hoge Johnson County Memorial Chapel for the families choice of memorial donations. www.mcgilleyhoge.com

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Memories

Dennis A. Diederich

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Emily Horn

September 21, 2020

Dr. Diederich was one of the greats, an icon at KU Medical Center. I spent a few weeks as his resident in 2008. I hope he realized how many physicians are out there that he played a role in shaping. I will never forget him.

Barbara Lukert

September 19, 2020

I met Denny when I was the resident and Denny, Dan Stechschulty, and later Neil Schimke were the interns! I never felt so inadequate in my life! Here I was assigned to supervise these intellectual giants! They kept me on my toes but never intimidated me. We became a true team and in spite of their superior intellects we had a marvelous 6 months together with stimulating discussions. Later, I remember going on behalf of the KUMC Alumni to tell him he had been elected the Honorary Alumnus of the year. He said “I won’t accept it!”. When asked why he said “well I don’t deserve it, look how many people who have so much more than I have”. After I practically got down on my knees and begged he reluctantly agreed to accept it. He was always humble, never flaunting his accomplishments.
Denny was blessed by being married to Alice, a true and loving partner who worked with him and sacrificed time with him when he was consumed by patient care.
We have lost a beloved colleague.

Emily Barnett-Doyle

September 18, 2020

I met Dr. Diederich when I worked in the Medical Transplant ICU at KU. He was such a great teacher not only to medical students, residents, and fellows, but also to nurses.
I remember being at the bedside of a kidney transplant patient and he turned off the monitor and asked, “tell me about his fluid status.” Everyone stood in silence. We didn’t have our numbers from the monitor. He proceeded to teach us about fluid status by feeling the radial pulse and the importance of a good physical exam. We’d never need a monitor if we looked at our patient.
So many carry his teachings with us everyday. We are so grateful for his eternal wisdom. Blessings to his family for sharing him with us all.
You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Lynelle Pierce

September 18, 2020

I have known Dr Dietrich professionally since 1981. He was in a league of his own, ahead of his time, a scientist and a patient advocate. I admired his gentle manner and incredible depth of knowledge. May his memory be eternal.

Lori Barham

September 18, 2020

I had the privilege of meeting Dr Diederich when I was a nurse in MICU at KU. He was always so kind and down to earth, both with patients as well as with hospital staff. He was always willing to teach anyone about nephrology. I will always remember him fondly. Take care of each other during this difficult time and enjoy positive memories together.
Sincerely,
Lori Barham

Tara Myers

September 8, 2020

I like many before and after me, had the great fortune of knowing Dr. Dieterich. I first met him in 1981 at the age of 14 as a kidney patient and most recently asked his advice regarding my 2nd kidney transplant in 2007 ( Specifically, to ask what he would do in my situation). He knew and remembered more about my medical history than I did over the span of 30 years. He was always gentle, caring , kind and extremely genuine as a doctor. He was quick with a smile and always remembered I had horses and lived out in the country. He set the bar high! He will be greatly missed . He was a true gift.

Aditi Gupta

September 5, 2020

I met Dr. Diederich during my training as an Internal Medicine resident. It didn’t take me long to recognize that Dr.D was unique- both in his knowledge, and his ability to connect with patients. He was a big reason for me choose nephrology. I was lucky to be his clinic fellow and then work alongside him as a transplant nephrologist. He will always remain a big influence in my life. He used knowledge and common sense to deal with the most complicated cases. Even now I see people publish things he has already taught me years ago! Dr. D was and will remain a class apart!

Patricia Hillner

September 3, 2020

Luz Conde

September 3, 2020

Dear Mrs. Diederich & Dr. Diederich Family,
My sincere condolences to all! I had the privilege to work with Dr. Diederich as an SICU nurse at TUKHS. I remember those days that he made rounds on his white lab coat. He is always professional, pleasant and most of all his admirable caring attitude to his patients. He's a great doctor. He will be missed.
May he rest in eternal peace. God Bless!
Luz

Sharon Stewart

September 3, 2020

I didn't get to see my Uncle very often, mostly when visiting my Grandma and Grandpa's house. Some of the best memories were when they would come in from the fields late in the evening my Grandma would be right there serving them something delicious. Then the stories would start and my Uncle Denny, would have my Grandpa laughing and smiling. Denny is part of an amazing family and his character and warmth proved that every day. I know you are in heaven now Uncle Denny sitting at the table with Ben and Viv making them smile and laugh again.
I love you and can't wait to sit at the table with ya'll again someday
Love
Your niece Sharon Stewart.

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