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Matthew James Hemker, age 45 of Landeck, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, October 11 surrounded by his loving family at New York University Langone Health in Manhattan, New York.
Matt was born December 21, 1977, in Lima, Ohio to Gary and Cathy (Odenweller) Hemker. He was a 1996 graduate of Delphos St. John High School. After school he entered the workforce. Matt graduated from UNOH with a certification in HVAC, where he later taught in the same field. After marrying the love of his life, Sarah (Brandeberry) in 2006 he moved to Whitehouse, Ohio and proudly became parents to Jake, Nate and Kate. At Penta Career Center he restarted the HVAC program. He was highly regarded by his fellow teachers and students, along with the industry professionals who later hired his students. In 2010, Matt and Sarah, along with their three children, moved back to Landeck. He went back into the field working at Grothouse Plumbing and Heating, then later at Lippincott Plumbing, Heating and Electrical where he worked until health complications changed his work trajectory.
Matt was a member of the Landeck Foresters and Landeck St. John the Baptist Church. He could often be found at mass there or at St. Patrick in Spencerville during the week and on Sundays, or anywhere Sister Immacolata and the community needed him. If he was not at church, he could be found back in his woodshop, working with his dogs Dixie and Millie, chauffeuring his kids to events, or proudly watching them participate in choir, band, quiz bowl, or sporting events in Spencerville and the surrounding area. Not only did he enjoy watching his kids, he also found great joy in watching his niece and nephews participating in all of their activities. Closer to home, Matt was active in the Landeck community by ushering at church, helping maintain the ball field and school, and helping his neighbors whenever he was needed. As a member of the Foresters, he helped organize and run the Halloween celebration as well as organizing and running the annual Feeding God’s Children food drive in the surrounding communities. Matt was an avid fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Reds and Spencerville Bearcats. He also enjoyed woodworking and making projects and gifts for family and friends. Matt enjoyed taking trips with his family and always enjoyed spending time at the family lake house with the whole crew. Even though he had all these other interests, his favorite pastime was spending time with his wife and kids.
Matt blessed everyone who knew him with his mild-mannered, humble take on life. Throughout his life, he quietly faced and dealt with Marfan Syndrome, undergoing many surgeries and procedures without complaint or question because it meant he would get to be around with his family for as long as possible. He faced each of these situations with a quiet courage and grace that was a gift he shared with those who knew him. Matt’s genuine smile and deeply rooted faith showed through. He was an unselfish, sincere, loving, compassionate, unprejudiced, giving, honest person who had such an unwavering sense of goodness about him that exuded to others. His resilience and ability to always have a genuine smile on his face left a mark on all who knew him. Throughout his struggles and difficulties, Matt’s selflessness and desire to care for others guided him until his amazing heart could not hold out any longer and he received the most perfect eternal heart with Jesus.
Matt is preceded in death by his grandparents. He is survived by his parents Gary and Cathy of Delphos, wife Sarah, son James (Jake), son Nathan (Nate), daughter Katherine (Kate) of Landeck, brother Doug (Tricia) of Plain City, sister Julie (Scott) Horstman of Plain City, niece and nephews Nolan, Grant, Alex Hemker, Leah, Bryce, Landon Horstman, as well as his many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends that loved and cared for him dearly.
Matt’s family would like to thank all who have supported them through Matt’s journey. The support and unwavering faith they have experienced have allowed them to continue caring for each other and take every opportunity to spend quality time together.
In lieu of flowers, please feel free to donate to Matt’s children through Matt’s March to a New Heart for their future. If you see fit to donate, Matt’s family also was aided tremendously by Angel Flight East and Lifeline Pilots. Without these two organizations and their incredible employees and volunteers, Matt and his family would not have been able to pursue all avenues to receiving a new heart and enjoying his final days together.
“And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20)
A Funeral Mass will begin at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, October 20 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Landeck. Burial will follow in the church cemetery.
Visitation will be from 2:00-8:00 p.m. on Thursday at Weber Funeral Home, 1840 E. Fifth St., Delphos, where a Parish Wake Service will be held at 7:45 p.m. Online condolences may be shared at www.weberfh.net.