It is with profound sadness that Kahn, Dees, Donovan & Kahn must announce the passing of attorney John E. Hegeman, our partner and friend. John passed away peacefully on May 1, 2020, at Walnut Creek Center in the comforting presence of his wife, Ellen, and daughter, Clare. He retired from the active practice of law at the end of 2013, then served KDDK in an of counsel capacity.
John joined KDDK in 1985 after earning his Juris Doctor that year from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1972 from Saint Louis University and worked as a UAW member on the factory floor before entering law school.
John’s passing is a great professional and personal loss for KDDK, especially those who were fortunate to have worked closely with him during his more than 30 years with the firm. Jeff Helfrich, a KDDK co-managing partner, met John in 1982 in law school, where they sat next to each other in almost every class they took together because of alphabetical seating charts. Jeff and John both joined KDDK in 1985 and practiced together until John’s retirement.
“John had a gentle sense of humor and loved to tell a good story. He was a gentleman in the true sense of the word, and I never saw him lose his temper in the 38 years I knew him,” said Helfrich. “John often dealt with clients going through emotionally difficult times. He was always able to attend to their legal needs, but more importantly, he was able to give them emotional comfort and support in a soothing way that you cannot learn in law school. He was loved by attorneys, staff and clients alike. He will be sorely missed.”
A devout Catholic, John was a staunch supporter of human rights and civil liberties, which was as evident in his practice of law as it was in service to our community. With his innate sensitivity, John helped scores of couples build their families through adoptions of infants, toddlers, “tweens,” and adolescents, deftly guiding both prospective adoptive parents and birth parents through the difficult, emotional process. He was also known for the deft guidance he provided clients in estate planning, advance directives, guardianships, probate and trust administration, elder law, and business and tax law issues.
John served our community through active membership in and service to the Daughters of Charity Foundation, Evansville Diocese Catholic Charities Bureau, Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Evansville Police Merit Commission, Deaconess Hospital Ethics Committee, Women’s Hospital Perinatal/Women’s Health Ethics Committee, Tales & Scales, Evansville Zoological Society, Evansville Estate and Financial Planning Council, Evansville Employee Benefits Council, and many other civic entities. He was also a proud lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan and an Evansville Otters baseball and University of Evansville Athletics donor and season ticket holder.
Our thoughts and prayers are with John’s wife, Ellen, their three children and one granddaughter, and extended network of family and friends. We look forward to joining them to celebrate John’s life and legacy at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate memorial contributions in John’s honor be made to Annunciation Parish St. Vincent de Paul Conference, 3010 E. Chandler Ave., Evansville, IN 47714; Annunciation Parish, 3010 E. Chandler Ave., Evansville, IN 47714; or the Alzheimer’s Association, 701 N. Weinbach Ave., Evansville, IN 47711.
Former clients, colleagues or others with questions are asked to contact Mike Schopmeyer, KDDK Partner, at (812) 423-3183 or mschopmeyer@KDDK.com.