In Memory

Dr. Samba Tata

June 10, 1948 - April 24, 2022

Samba came to Rotary later in life. He shared with us that he had been so excited to accept the early retirement offer from Chrysler because it meant that he would finally have time to join a Rotary club. When Samba joined our club in September of 2009, we quickly learned he was an incredibly warm, friendly, and kind man. Samba’s special love was international projects, he was active in spearheading several international projects with our club, other local area clubs and our Rotary District in his native village of Binshua, Cameroon. He was also a smiling presence at every club project, activity, and fundraiser.

Samba suddenly passed away on a trip to the Dominican Republic. He will be missed by his family, the villagers in Binshua, Cameroon and the members of our club and community.

Some of the Projects he was involved with around Binshua, Cameroon:

  • Concrete floor for a medical clinic
  • Medical supplies
  • Concrete floors for a local school and writing implements
  • New latrines for a school, with rain catchment for hand washing

John W. Hentkowski

April 2, 1943 - December 21, 2010

Born in Wilmington on April 2, 1942, John was a 1960 graduate of Wilmington High School and founder of Hentkowski, Inc. in January 1968. Now located in Marshallton, John's company grew rapidly from its small beginnings in an old church in Browntown to become a widely respected HVAC contracting firm. He was well known and admired throughout his career for his work ethic and commitment to customer service excellence.

John's passion for his business was equaled only by his lifelong desire to help those in need. As a 33-year member and past president of the Rotary Club of Newark, he worked tirelessly for many years with Rotary's Polio Plus initiative in its efforts to eradicate the disease around the world. He was elected by his fellow Rotarians to serve as the Governor of District 7630 from 1990 to 1991 and was a member of the Rotary Foundation Committee from 1991 through 1999. He had also been honored as a Paul Harris Fellow and Major Donor by the Rotary Foundation.

He worked extensively with Easter Seals, serving as a member of the Board of the Directors. He was committed to providing support and guidance at Easter Seals' Camp Fairlee Manor in Chestertown, MD, a facility which allows those with physical, cognitive, and behavioral disabilities to enjoy camping and summer recreation. In earlier years, he was active with Boy Scouts of America and Camp Rodney.

John loved animals and, with his wife, exhibited champion Arabian horses. He was a member and past chairman of the Eastern Amateur Arabian Horse Show Circuit. Other interests included the Wilmington & Western Railroad, where he currently served as treasurer.

Ross E. Austin, Esq

Passed away April 2011

Dr. John D. "Jack" O'Leary

Passed away February 3, 2007

O'Leary was born in Girard, Pa., the son of the late Dr. Joseph and Edna O'Leary. He made Newark his home for the majority of his life. A superb student, he entered Gannon College in Erie, Pa., at age 16 and went on to complete dental school at the University of Pittsburgh by the age of 22. He served proudly as a Lieutenant JG in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War.

O'Leary moved to Delaware with his wife Renee, to complete his training as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. He practiced in Newark for 34 years and, for the last 17 years of his career, headed a department at Christiana Medical Center. Though he retired in 1993, he maintained his dental license and collegial relationships, including membership in many professional organizations such as the Delaware Dental Society, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Association, and American Association of Dental Anesthesiology. 

Besides being a long-time member of the Newark Rotary Club, he was also a loyal patron and participant of the theater, especially the Chapel Street Players. As a private pilot he enjoyed flying his own six-seater plane regionally and cross-country. Proud of his Irish heritage, he happily gained his Irish dual citizenship. O'Leary was an officer of the Brandywine Motorsport Club. He co-founded the annual Braille Rally with his wife 37 years ago. He also enjoyed his Porsche Club of America, DE Chapter membership.