Dennis Janson: Saying goodbye to beloved family man, devoted community leader and fierce Xavier fan

My Dad passed away in 1971 when I was 21. I was fortunate that in his absence several good men entered my life to help finish the job Harry Janson wasn’t around to complete.  

Among them, Tom Siemers who died peacefully on Memorial Day surrounded by his family. He was 80. 

Siemers served as Franklin Savings and Loan president, but may be better known as the man who formalized the University of Dayton-Xavier University basketball rivalry by sponsoring the Blackburn-McCafferty trophy, awarded annually to the winner. It is named for former basketball coaches at the respective universities.

Family and friends, many with similar life-changing relationships, paid their last respects Tuesday night at Guardian Angels Church in Mt. Washington. The Mass of Christian Burial embodied much of what Tom would have loved: wonderful music, laughter, a just-the-right-length sermon. Though he might have blushed at the tears and six priests concelebrating the service, including Xavier President the Rev. Michael Graham.
   Tom’s son-in-law Barry Schmidt, (whose brother the Rev. Jan Kevin Schmidt was among the presiding clergy) theorized on his father-in-law's heavenly view of the proceedings: 

“This looks like Cintas Center. Who are we playing? I can’t believe all these wonderful people took time out of their busy schedules for me. I’m truly humbled and honored.” 

No Tom, the honor was ours.

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