Hartsburg Loses a Dear Friend

Michael and I were awakened this morning to hear a sad note. Our friend Sherman Charles Dick, “Sherm”, aged 82, of Martinsburg, Penn., had passed away from complications of double pneumonia. He had been sick a short while.

Michael and I first met Sherm in the aftermath of the Flood of 1993 as he walked around town with us filming the destruction caused by the flooding. He knew no one here but it reminded him of his hometown in Pennsylvania. 

Sherman took his homemade film back to Martinsburg and began to give talks to local groups about how we needed help in Missouri. Although not a speaker, Sherman was so successful that he gathered a large sum of donations which he brought to Hartsburg. This also began an almost endless series of visits as Sherman brought groups of volunteers to help rebuild our town. 

The first group was men and women from his local church and included a minister and a Mennonite. They stayed a week and then returned home. Soon Sherman was back with another van load of volunteers and he just kept coming. You never knew when he and Janet would just drop in to visit on their way west or wherever. Sherm traveled all over the United States taking his neighboring Mennonites to volunteer or to see the country. He loved this country but he loved Hartsburg a lot. Sherm always had a story and was always ready to help others. His booming voice was his trademark. Sherm loved farming and he loved and admired Wayne Hilgedick and his big farm and large tractors. 

Sherman often attended church services at Peace United Church of Christ if he was in town on Sunday. His volunteering spurred the men of the church to organize and travel to other towns that had been destroyed by tornadoes or floods. Sherm often met them with a group of his own and they worked side by side. 

His first visit brought Glenn Smith who helped us greatly and he also become a good friend. These were good people. We still exchange letters with some of this first group. 

Sherm continued to take riders up until his last days and was a revered figure among his Mennonite neighbors. He wore out countless vans in his travels and he and Janet were always on the go. They loved Branson and it’s music shows. 

Sherm was a rural mail carrier and a farmer, but was really a messenger from God and he was our friend. He will be sorely missed. 

Michael and I were honored to visit the Dicks in their 1700’s home-place. Their beloved church and cemetery, which are visible from their kitchen window, is where Sherm will be buried next to family members. Services will be held on Monday at a small family service, per his wife’s wishes. 

Submitted by Nancy Grant and Michael Rodemeyer

Flood Relief Coordinator and Mayor, 1993