In Loving Memory of Kenney Hegland

By Barbara Sattler

On May 30, 2020, Kenney Hegland, my husband of 38 years died at age 78, eight days after being diagnosed with lung cancer. He had some medical issues, but nothing serious. He’d quit smoking more than 40 years ago.

Kenney was a law professor at the University of Arizona for more than 35 years. He mostly taught Contracts although toward the end of his career he both taught and wrote about Elder Law. He had just finished, Why Did I Walk into This Room?, A Thinking Person’s Guide to Growing Older.

My husband was a prolific writer, mostly non-fiction although he wrote a prize-winning novel, Law Prof.  He criticized most legal writing as too wordy, hard to understand and pompous. Worse, it was humorless. His writing style was always easy to read and humorous. His publishers called him, “Yoda, sage of the law.”

His new book, Why Did I Walk into This Room?, covers issues you’ll have to deal with as you grow older:  estate planning, home safety, depression, retirement angst, paying for health care, senior moments, hospice, financial scams and elder abuse. While the coverage is encyclopedic, the book is filled with down-home philosophy, existential musings and humor.

Kenney’s book is available at Carolina Academic Press (paperback and ebook) and Amazon (ebook). All the proceeds go to the Kenney Hegland scholarship fund at the University of Arizona.  This fund was set up by the law school after Kenney died and will provide money to students who can’t afford law school and have an interest in practicing public interest law, such as public defenders or legal aide lawyers. Kenney began his legal career working as a legal aide lawyer.

Kenney was the most generous man I knew. He volunteered at and donated to a variety of local and national organizations and tried to instill this value in his children and students. He believed we all have a responsibility to help others and to make the world a better place.

Recently, I made a donation to SRNA in memory of Kenney. Although this is the first donation I made in honor of Kenney, I donate to SRNA every year.

I was diagnosed with transverse myelitis (TM) in 2001 after six weeks of going from doctor to doctor, having test after test, and wrong diagnosis after wrong diagnosis. I was partially paralyzed, in pain, depressed and wondering if I’d ever get my life back. A friend sent me information about SRNA (TMA at that time).  I went to their website. Just hearing about someone else who had TM gave me hope. Reading the materials on the website gave me knowledge and allowed me to meet a woman in the town I lived in who had TM.

I immediately joined SRNA.  It was free then and remains free. Over the years, I participated in a support group, went to educational symposiums, listened to podcasts, and met wonderful people who are life-long friends. I’ve had a chance to get advice from some of the docs who specialize in our diseases.

SRNA gives us so much. Family camp for families with children who have one of our diseases. Paying for fellowships so doctors can specialize in treating us. The SRNA website has a comprehensive library of articles about our diseases. SRNA funds research to find a cure. They have patient advocates and much more. No one is ever charged for any of these services.

There is no better gift I can give to Kenney’s memory than to donate to this organization who has given so much to thousands of people and their families across the world.

Barbara Sattler is on the Board of the Siegel Rare Neuroimmune Association. While a city court magistrate in Tucson, Arizona, Barbara contracted transverse myelitis. She took four months to recover before returning to work and was later appointed to the superior court bench. Barbara retired in 2008. Since retirement, she has written four novels and has committed all her publications’ proceeds to SRNA. Barbara’s books are available for purchase on  Barbara also has a blog.