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Dennis "Joe" Lemon

March 28, 1935 ~ October 1, 2021 (age 86)


Dennis Ridell Lemon was born on March 28, 1935 in the tiny country town of Portis, Kansas and passed away on Oct. 1, 2021 in Salina, Kansas with his wife of nearly 60 years at his side. He was 86 years old.  He was the only child of the late Clyde Donald Lemon and Mary Revo Payton.  He spent his youth helping his father raise racing greyhounds. He also earned the nickname “Joe” at an early age; however, his mother never called him anything other than Dennis. He grew to adulthood in the Portis area and then attended Ft. Hays Kansas State College and graduated in 1957.  Promptly after graduation he and a couple of friends went to Denver to enlist in the Army for 2 years.  He was stationed in Germany for the entire duration of his enlistment where he traveled all over Europe in his MG convertible he purchased when he arrived.  He settled in Denver, CO after his discharge from the Army in 1959 and began a career in the US Forest Service.  

In 1961, he met his wife, Ila Faye Lawson, and they were married a short 9 months later on March 17, 1962 in Norton, KS.  They had two daughters, Michelle Denise and Tia Diane.  The family moved to the Washington DC area in 1974 and remained until they moved to Salina in 1980 when Joe transferred to the US Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service.  He retired in 1995 after 35 years of government service.  He was one of the last few living historians of the period of greyhound coursing history – which preceded the greyhound track racing as we know it today.  He recently had been a resource of firsthand information for UK historian and author Charles Blanning for a September 2021 article in the “Sporting Press” (Ireland) on the early days of coursing in the United States.  Joe loved to play golf and travel with his wife all over the world among many other hobbies.  

His pride and joy was the success of his daughters and grandsons.  He is survived by his wife Ila, his daughters Michelle of Columbia, Tennessee and Tia of Aurora, CO.  His two grandsons, Tom (Shannon) Worcester of Grand Forks, North Dakota and Brandon Worcester of Columbia, Tennessee as well as his two great-grandchildren, Grace Helen Worcester and Solomon Thomas Worcester.  He was a devoted son, husband and father and will be deeply missed.  A private funeral service for the immediate family will be planned in the future.  Memoriums can be made to the Greyhound Hall of Fame Scholarship Fund in Abilene, Kansas.

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Greyhound Hall of Fame
407 S. Buckeye, Abilene KS 67410
Tel: 1-785-263-3000

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