Dene Weideman was born in El Dorado, Kan., but has spent most of her life in Union where she raised five children, volunteered at several Baptist churches and written a book.
The 86-year-old great-grandmother was honored in August for all of her work in area Baptist churches when the Union Baptist Temple named its new building the Dene Weideman Fellowship Hall.
Weideman serves as a church secretary and does most of the work from her Union home.
She spent most of her early life in the Kansas City area but relocated to Union in 1951 when her husband Bud took a railroad job in Washington.
The couple met in high school, and Bud then left to serve in Japan during World War II.
The Weidemans rented a home on State Street in Union when they first moved to town. The couple had three children then.
While in Union, Dene gave birth to her youngest children.
The Weidemans eventually purchased a home at the corner of East State and Linden streets.
“I remember my boys painted it green and before the paint dried it rained,” she said with a chuckle. “Virgil (her son) had to repaint it himself.”
While the kids were young, she worked at the Union Variety Store which was located at the northwest corner of Oak and Locust streets.
Later she worked at a cafe as a waitress. That restaurant is where Benito’s is now located, Weideman said.
It was in 1964 that the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Union asked Weideman to be the church secretary. She worked there for 22 years until both she and her husband retired from the work force.
However, Weideman continued to work as the treasurer for the Franklin County Baptist Association.
She also taught first-grade Sunday school, then later fifth- and sixth-grade classes. She even taught an adult ladies’ class at the church, Weideman said.
Church leaders at the Union Baptist Temple took all of that work into consideration when they named a new building the “Dene Weideman Fellowship Hall.” The hall was dedicated during a ceremony Aug. 12.
Weideman explained that she started attending the Union Baptist Temple in 2006 because she thought her husband, who had become ill, would like that church.
“He grew up in a small church and played the cello Wednesday nights,” she said.
Weideman learned about it when church members were passing out information throughout Union.
“He never did get well enough to go, but I have enjoyed going ever since,” she said.
She added that church members and Pastor Phil Huxel have been good to her.
When Huxel learned that Weideman was carrying laundry baskets up and down her basement stairs, he organized a group of church members who built an area in a back bedroom where she could keep her washing machine and dryer.
“He sees needs like that and takes care of them,” Weideman said. “It is like a close family.”
While Bud Weideman was sick, he asked Dene to write a book about his life. In 2007 “The Fisher Boy” was released.
“I had to make up a lot of his early life from the few facts that I knew,” she said. “He was born with polio and an Indian lady helped get him well.”
Her next endeavor is a book about her life.
“I’m going to call it ‘Glazed Doughnuts’ because my mother made the best glazed doughnuts there ever were,” she said.
Weideman’s hobby is putting puzzles together and framing them, she said. Her house is decorated with them, including her kitchen and bedrooms that follow themes of those rooms.
She also gives them as gives, including to the Union Baptist Temple.
Weideman has 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.