William DeJohn

William DeJohn

  • Funeral Date: 1/04/13
  • Funeral Time: 7:30PM
  • Date of Birth: 4/01/40
  • Date of Death: 12/31/12
  • Funeral Location: Benson & Langehough Funeral Home

William Thomas DeJohn (Bill) passed away peacefully at home on Monday, Dec. 31, 2012 after a short battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 72. He was predeceased by his father Thomas DeJohn. Bill is survived by his loving wife of 52 years Kathi. He is lovingly remembered by his sons: Charles (Debra) and Michael (Denise) DeJohn; three granddaughters: Sarah, Trisha and Krysta all of Washington State. His brothers Jerry (Brenda) and Steve DeJohn and mother Pearl Tasch, St. Louis, Missouri. Bill graduated from the University of Missouri with a BA in Russian civilization. He went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Library Science from the University of Pittsburgh. Bill recently retired after 27 years as Director of MINITEX Information and Resource Sharing Program at the University of Minnesota.  In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the American Library Association or the Newfoundland Club of America. Visitation will be held at Benson & Langehough Funeral Home on Friday, Jan 4 from 5:00-7:00pm followed at 7:30 pm by Myrtle Chapter 13 OES and Corinthian Masonic Lodge 67 Funeral Ceremonies.
Arrangements Benson & Langehough Funeral Home & Cremation. www.northfieldfuneral.com


  1. Bernie Karon

    My condolences to the family. Bill was a leader for a generation of Minnesota librarians, information scientists, educators, digitizers and preservationists. He talked the talk; walked the walk; and led by example. No job was too big; no staffer too small; no deadline unreachable, and always with a smile and a ‘can do’ attitude. He will be greatly missed by those of us who worked with him, and were privileged to be known as his friend.

    — Bernie Karon

  2. Nancy Herther

    My sympathies to his family, he was a highly intelligent professional and extraordinary leader whose legacy for libraries and every citizen in the upper midwest area served by MINITEX will long be remembered. Bill was also a very personable, friendly person who could be equally at ease with legislators or ‘common folk.’ I only regret that he wasn’t able to enjoy more of his well-deserved retirement. It will be a hard act for anyone to fill the gap he left in the library profession. His passion for service and full access to information for all gives the rest of us a very high standard to try to meet. My condolescences to his family.

  3. Tori Jensen

    I was shocked and saddened at the news of Bill’s passing. He was such a giant in the library world and yet such a down to earth, kind man. I was always so glad to run into him at various meetings and such. I am so lucky to have known him. He will be sorely missed. My condolences to his family.

  4. Dan Gjelten

    Bill will be long remembered for his impact on Minnesota’s libraries. He is, in a large part, responsible for the strength of our state system and the level of support we get from the State of Minnesota. On a personal level, I have always admired his ability to connect with us as individuals in the library community. As a young librarian, Bill treated me as a professional and as someone who mattered, as a future leader. Over time, I began to think of myself that way, too – if he took me seriously, I decided, I’d take myself seriously. At some point, I realized that he made everyone feel important in that way. That is a subtle, but profound, form of mentorship which I have always tried to emulate. I will miss Bill and terribly saddened by this premature loss.

  5. Gene Kenney

    My condolences to the family. It was a pleasure, running into Mr. DeJohn at CLIC’s library functions. He had a very congenial disposition, a very pleasant person to be around. I will miss him.

  6. Ethelle Bean

    My condolences to the family. I was terribly saddened to hear of Bill’s death. He touched many lives in the library world and his leadership of MINITEX was remarkable. He was always looking forward and engaged. As Bernie Karon wrote: “He talked the talk; walked the walk; and led by example.” He was inspirational to me and was a wonderful sounding board and always gave wise and insightful counsel. I miss him.

  7. Darlene Hughes

    My condolences to the family. I have worked in public and academic libraries since 1984 and I heard or read about Bill’s accomplishments often. What a loss to the Minnesota library world.

  8. Mary Kraljic

    I was so sorry to hear that Bill has passed away. I knew him only as a colleague from the South Dakota branch of Minitex–as others have mentioned, Bill made a real difference in our work lives, but he was such a wonderful and personable man, too. My sympathy to Kathi and to their sons and extended family.

  9. Nancy Hegdahl

    My condolences to the DeJohn family. I was very saddened to hear of Bill’s illness, and on Sunday had just asked a friend in the library world how Bill was doing, and now to hear the news of his passing is such a loss of a great man. I was very fortunate to have known Bill for many years in my role as support staff at MELSA and CLIC, and can only say that I had never met such an amazing, genuinely, sincere person as Bill. You could pass him in a hall and he always knew your name and greeted you with a smile and a big hello. He will be greatly missed by all.

  10. Jane Prestebak

    I was so sorry to hear of the passing of Bill DeJohn. He was a remarkable leader who has left his mark on more than one generation of librarians in Minnesota. His legacy is a model of the value of collaboration and vision for how libraries work together to improve the lives of all.

  11. Sally Mays

    The state of Minnesota lost a great leader with the passing of Bill DeJohn. His vision of Information Literacy for all the people of Minnesota-and Upper Midwest was realized during his leadership at Minitex. So many librarians have been inspired by his dedication and joy to serve. Thank you Bill, we will all miss you. My deep condolences to his family.

  12. Patricia M. Hogan

    My sincere condolences to the family. I remember Bill from my time at North Suburban Library System (NSLS); he was a dynamic, articulate person who worked tirelessly for libraries and library cooperative ventures. Those of us who were privileged to work with him were the better for his wit, humor and intelligent comments. His loss is hard to bear, but I am glad he no longer is in pain. God bless him and his lovely family. Pat Hogan

  13. I am greatly saddened to think that Bill and Kathi will not be able to enjoy the life he envisioned after retirement. I will miss his contagious optimism and his tireless dedication to the improvement of libraries, of library leadership, and of our services to library users. He was an exemplary leader with a quiet, powerful and enduring influence in the state of Minnesota and beyond. He was a mentor for many library professionals, including myself, and I will miss him greatly. My sincere condolences to Kathi, all of Bill’s family, everyone he treated like family … and of course to the beloved Newfies.

  14. Barbara Fister

    My sympathy to Bill’s family. He was such a terrific leader for libraries in the upper Midwest, and wonderfully skilled at communicating the value of libraries to legislators. He was endlessly interested in what would come next for libraries, and challenged us all to think about why they matter. He would send emails at crazy times of night, always ready to tackle a question or share a link. We owe him a lot, and he will be missed. Though a part of me wanted him to NEVER stop working, because he was so darned good at it, I am so sorry he didn’t have more time to enjoy his retirement. What a great guy.

  15. Steve Marquardt

    Friendly, knowledgeable, innovative, considerate, helpful, professional — Bill was all of these. He led a superb MINITEX service that I valued first as a University librarian and then in my retirement as a user of a public library serving a zip code of 1,000 souls. What a shock to see the undeservedly early end of his life. I extend my sympathies to his family.

  16. Maureen Sullivan

    My condolences to Bill’s family. Bill contributed so much throughout his career to the improvement of libraries and library service. I had the privilege to know and work with him on various activities in the American Library Association and as a consultant to Minitex. The photo included here captures so well how I remember every encounter with Bill — a warm and large smile. He was a wonderful colleague and will be missed by many.

  17. Mary Caspers-Graper

    Bill’s concern for providing quality library services has been evident in his leadership at Minitex. Librarians in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota have been able to provide their communities better service because of his efforts. I was sad to hear of his death and send his family my condolences.

  18. Dixie Ohlander

    I am a librarian at Augsburg College’s Lindell Library. Because of Bill’s strong leadership and advocacy skills, we have been able to provide high quality resources and services to our patrons and our partner libraries for many years. Bill was a highly regarded leader, a skilled negotiator and a genuinely nice person. I always looked forward to the well-prepared updates he would give at the annual Minitex Interlibrary Loan conference. After listening to Bill each year, I came away with a renewed appreciation for his leadership and for the highly professional staff under his direction. He will be greatly missed by many in our community.

  19. I meet Bill two times. The first one with other colleagues from Catalonia. We were in Minneapolis for the ARCL meeting and we wanted to know more about the cooperative arrangements between libraries. The second was more recently, in a professional visit with the same purpose. We received from him a very professional, kind and warm support. Two years ago, we set up a consortial borrowing system the uses some of the learnings from Minitex. My condolences to Bill’s family and to Minitex.

  20. J. Michael Homan

    Sincere condolence and deepest sympathy to Bill’s family. As a transplant from California and newly minted Minnesotan in 1994 Bill was the first MN library leader to reach out to me in his warm, affable, and engaging way — persistent too! His ready smile and positive outlook were infectious to those around him. It was always a pleasure and a learning experience to work with him on the MLAC Advisory Board and to watch his expert engagement of issues and individuals. He was a wonderful professional, a real master, and role model for so many in the library community, university, and beyond.

  21. Hulen E Bivins

    Libraries, especially the State Library, of the State of North Dakota appreciate every act of consideration extended during Bill’s tenure as MINITEX Director. His labor as an advisor and mentor shall always be noted with appreciation.

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