In Loving Memory of Stanley W. DeKemper

Mental Health America of Indiana on 6/3/2020

Stanley DeKemper: February 24, 1948 to June 3, 2020

Vice President for Education, Training & Credentialing; 

Executive Director, ICAADA

It is with great sadness that I must convey Stan DeKemper’s passing yesterday. This is a tremendous loss to our field, our community–and to me, as I considered Stan a close and trusted friend.

As I have reflect on it, I cannot even imagine the number of people Stan helped and trained. MHAI was so fortunate every day that Stan walked through our door—always providing a perspective otherwise not said or contemplated. Stan’s commitment to the organization continued until the end and all of us are richer for it. Stan was early to every meeting, and unfortunately, too early to leave this earth. Stan will be missed, but his legacy will go on.

We have been developing the “MHAI Training Institute”—which will truly be Stan’s Legacy. The Stanley W. DeKemper Mental Health America of Indiana Training Institute will not only enable us to recognize and remember Stan’s memory, but it will also add credibility and gravitas to the Institute itself, thereby increasing its reach and impact.

I am incredibly sad over the passing of a great leader who left us too soon, but I know that you will help me make Stan’s legacy of training continue for years and decades to come.

With that in mind, Stan and Stephanie discussed creating a scholarship fund in his name to assist those who cannot afford–but would truly benefit from MHAI Trainings. If you would like to contribute to the Stanley DeKemper scholarship fund, please do so by going here.

Stan recently reflected on his career:

It has been a long journey full of vicissitudes, wonderful people and challenges but without any regrets, I am announcing my retirement. Over the coming months, I will focus on my health and spend time my family. 

After graduating from Purdue in 1970 with a BS in Psychology, I took a position with Community Action of Evansville IN. The role of Youth Program Director shaped my outlook on life and my future commitment to the work I dedicated my entire career to carrying out.  In this role, I learned firsthand about addiction and substance use disorders. I saw both the injustice and the impact of substances in the lives of kids. It was also the first of many experiences being fully immersed into the Black culture and my awakening, firsthand, to the impact of racism and discrimination. My experiences in this position established a foundation and commitment to fighting for those suffering from addiction and against racist systems and policies. 

Throughout my career, I have launched or expanded many programs, but I am most proud of two: a youth enterprise program in Evansville and bringing addiction counselor training and recovery coach programs to Indiana. I have trained close to 100,000 people across the country.

I am leaving many capable people with bright futures, full of hope and a bucket of good ideas eager to carry on. To them I say to remember that change takes time. Sometimes your good ideas need to wait until people are ready, do not give up because people are worth it. It took time to get funding for and a focus on mental health and addiction, but we did it. It took time to having cultural competency training accepted but we did it. The foundation is there for others to build upon. 

I am retiring with good memories and will miss most of all the camaraderie with people doing the work in communities across the state. As the work continues, remember to remain committed to equality and diversity. We are a richer people, society and organization when we are diverse. It makes us better, wiser and keeps us grounded in reality. It is how we bring value to others and have a lasting impact in their lives. My life has been richer and fuller because of it. 

Lastly, I must acknowledge that all of my accomplishments were possible because of those who taught me, helped me, and gave me an opportunity. 

Be Well, Keep the Faith and in Kindness carry on,

Stan DeKemper