Richard (Dick) Daniel Hedges was born August 22, 1938 to Lawrence and Marjorie (Daniel) Hedges in Fort Scott, KS. He grew up on a farm near Blue Mound, attended Blue Mound schools graduating from Blue Mound High School in 1956.
Growing up, he was involved in a number of school activities including sports, music, FFA, annual and school paper staff. His senior year he was invited to participate in the National FFA band playing his clarinet.
After an active athletic career in high school, Dick enrolled at Baker University and made an impact on the football team playing center and nose guard. Weighing in at 170 lbs., he made up for his lack of size by playing with intensity. He lettered all four years and was named to the 1st team All-Kansas Athletic Conference team his junior and senior years. He was inducted into the Baker University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.
Following graduation from Baker, he began a career that would take him from teaching and coaching in several high schools in Kansas to the presidency at Fort Scott Community College and being named to the Kansas Board of Regents. He managed by walking around, making recorded lists, delegating tasks and was very good at “getting things done”.
He married Karen Prather, a co-teacher at Baldwin High School December 27, 1964. They had two sons, Lance and Kyle. Both Karen and Dick were active in their respective schools, church and community. As a family they enjoyed a wide variety of sports, outdoor activities, hunting, fishing and traveling . Karen died unexpectedly in August of 2006.
A Christmas note reconnected Dick to Janice (Jan) Strecker in 2010. Their families had become good friends during the two years Dick worked in Hutchinson, KS. Dick and Jan were married August 14, 2011. After three retirements by each of them, they opened a bookstore, Hedgehog.INK!, in downtown Fort Scott in October of 2018.
Dick has been a member of the Fort Scott United Methodist Church for 54 years, he wrote a weekly column for the Fort Scott Tribune for 52 years. He was a teacher, coach, principal and FSCC president three different times. He had short stints in private industry, Greenbush Educational Center and Johnson County Technical School. He served the community of Fort Scott as a city commissioner – 14 years and mayor 3 years. He served on the Mercy Hospital Board, FSCC Board of Trustees and Endowment committee, Area Community Foundation Board, as well as many other leadership roles. He was instrumental in the building of the Ellis Fine Arts Center and creating the Gordon Parks Museum. He was a member of the Fort Scott Rotary Club.
Dick is preceded in death by an infant brother, his parents, his wife Karen and son Lance.
Survivors include his wife, Jan of the home, son Kyle and wife Tina Keating Hedges, Bolivar, MO, daughter-in-law Stacey Hedges, Garnett, KS, step-sons Scott Strecker Portland, OR and Stuart Strecker Lawrence, KS, one brother Tom Hedges, Kansas City, MO, one sister Donna and husband Wilfred Lehmann, LeRoy, KS. Six grandchildren, 5 step-grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren with one more to arrive in July. A number of nieces, nephews and friends.
Dick has impacted the lives of more people than he will ever know. His style of teaching, coaching and leadership have inspired those who knew and worked with him to reach higher, to learn more and to pay it forward. He was a true public servant in every sense of the word.
Burial will follow in the Evergreen Cemetery Fort Scott, KS.
A visitation will be held at Cheney Witt Chapel Tuesday, March 15 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Memorials may be made to the Fort Scott Community College Foundation or Fort Scott First United Methodist Church and may be left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main, P.O. Box 347, Ft. Scott, KS 66701. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at cheneywitt.com.