HAMILTON — Dennis made his journey home to his heavenly father on May 31, 2019, following complications of a stroke, surrounded by his family.
He was born in Butte, Montana on Sept. 28, 1948, to Phyllis and Jerry Johnson. He completed his schooling in Butte before joining the U.S. Army in 1965. Dennis served his country proudly doing four tours in Vietnam, receiving the Silver Star and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Badge. Later he received the Drill Sgt. Identification Badge, serving as a Drill Sgt. in Fort Hood, Texas, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and Ft. Knox, Kentucky.
On January 15, 1970, he married the love of his life, Margie Barney, in Butte. On Feb. 28, 1971, they welcomed their daughter, Lorraine Kathleen, into the world, who was fondly nicknamed “Beaner” by her dad. While stationed in Germany a second daughter, Wendy Michelle, joined their family on March 27, 1974. She was lovingly nicknamed “Wendyshell” by her father. Dennis retired from the U.S. Army in 1988 after 22 years of service to his country.
After retiring Dennis and his family moved to the Bitterroot Valley. He soon became a greens keeper at the Hamilton Golf Course. From there he went to work for Mike and Linda Massa at Massa Home Center. Over the years of his employment there, Mike and Linda became close friends of Denny, enjoying numerous NASCAR Cup Races in Las Vegas together, where you would find Dennis in the pits as part of the NASCAR Fire Crew.
Dennis was preceded in death by his mother and father; sister, JeriKay; brother, Mark Johnson; his beloved mother-in-law, Lorraine (Morgan) Hayes; and fathers-in-law, Thomas R. Morgan and Robert Hayes. On March 2, 2004, the love of his life and wife of 34 years, Margie, passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. On May 20, 2018 his first-born grandson, Kevin Valentine, received his heavenly wings also after a courageous fight with cancer.
Dennis is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Lorraine and Curt McElroy of Hamilton; grandson, Anthony McElroy of Hawthorne, Nevada; daughter, Wendy Ferguson and fiancé Mike Accomando of Butte; granddaughter and husband, Alexander and Joe Kean of England; great-granddaughter, Scarlett Kean and a second great-granddaughter who will join our family later this year; grandson, Cody McQueen and granddaughter, Brittney McQueen of Colorado; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Donna (Morgan) and Barry Cauwenberghs; niece Janel and husband Jeff Brenneman and great nieces, Morgan and Lexi Brenneman, all of Hamilton. Janel held a special place in her Uncle’s life from the day she was born and was by his side while he made his journey home; they truly shared a special bond.
The family of Dennis would like to express a special thank you to Todd and Cora Ann Peterson for opening their home to us, so we could be close to Dennis during his stay at Sacred Heart in Spokane. Last but not least — a huge heartfelt thank you to Consumer Direct Hospice of Missoula. Sherrie, Kelsey, Brittney and Lou, your kindness and compassion were beyond words. You truly were our heaven-sent angels.
“At Ease” soldier, your final tour on earth has been completed. Thank you for your service, your love, your guidance and your memories. Enjoy your retirement in peace and pain free with your heavenly family until we meet again.
Visitation will be held on Friday from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. at the Daly-Leach Chapel with funeral services following at 11 am. Dennis will be laid to rest with his beloved Margie at Fort Missoula Cemetery with full military honors. There will be a reception following the graveside services at the Brenneman’s home, 287 Canyon Creek, in Hamilton. Condolences may be left for the family at www.dalyleachchapel.com.