David Dennis

Obituary of David Christian Dennis

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David Christian Dennis


It is with heavy hearts that we announce the death of David (Dave) Christian Dennis on June 30, 2024 at the age of 83.


Dave was born in Stettler Alberta on April 12, 1941 to Elsie and Gordon Dennis. Dave is survived by his wife Shirley Jo, children Wanda and Mark, daughter in law Jacquie, grandchildren Kody and Kyle, sister Marlene McKay, brother in law Russel McKay, sister in law Geraldine Dennis and numerous nieces and nephews.


Dave was predeceased by his brother Norm and his parents.


He lived in Stettler his whole life. His childhood was spent chumming around with his friends usually fishing or playing sports. His adolescence was spent, with these same friends at Buffalo Lake water skiing, fishing, and hunting or at a dance. He spent his married life and retirement in Stettler. The Town of Stettler meant a lot to him. He was a Stettler volunteer firefighter for many years because he felt it was important to be there for his community. His favorite job was working for the Town of Stettler as a “safety codes officer (building and fire inspector), development and licensing officer, and director of disaster services”. He worked in this role at the town for 25 years and retired in 2004. It was in this role with the town that he believed he made the most contribution to his community of Stettler.


His contribution to his community didn’t end there, Dave was elected as a Town of Stettler Councilor in 2007 and completed a four year term. He had a keen ability to retain all details of every building and development in Stettler. He loved to share the history of Stettler with anyone who would listen. Dave was a true ambassador of Stettler. He enjoyed working on Town Council and took this responsibility very seriously. He was involved in many developments and improvement projects during his time as a counselor.


He wanted to join the RCMP, like is grandfather, but was rejected as he was missing the tip of the ring finger on his left hand from a childhood accident with a door jam. So instead, he transitioned to carpentry, which fit his inherent talents perfectly. He graduated from SAIT in their carpentry program. Dave got his start using his skills working for a local construction company building residential and commercial facilities in Stettler and area. He later worked for United Farmers of Alberta constructing arch buildings throughout central Alberta. Dave’s carpentry work can still be seen throughout central Alberta.


His ability to design and build goes beyond his employment. He built the greenhouse buildings of his parents. He designed and built his house, garage and sun room addition. He incorporated components of Stettler history (when they were torn down) into his residence with his use of rough sawn 14 by 2 fir floor joist from the cigar building in his house and the windows from the old Stettler hospital in his sunroom addition. He loved wood and selected and worked with each piece himself from the floor joist through to the finishes on the cupboards. He did not stop at the wood for the house, as he also designed the piping system throughout the basement floor and associated hot water system for the house. His ingenuity for using spare parts included the water collection system. He designed and constructed a water collection system to capture and store 12, 000 liters of rainwater from the roof of his house and garage. This collected water was then filtered and distributed through a pressure system for

watering his garden and flowers in the yard.


Dave was a patient mentor and teacher in everything he did. In 1992, he took on a gigantic father son project, he guided and assisted the construction of his son’s new residential home located in Stettler.


In his youth he built a wooden boat called ‘Wanita’ that he spent many moments water skiing at Buffalo Lake. In his later years, he tackled building a cedar strip canoe from scratch and toured around in it at Buffalo Lake with his wife, Shirley Jo. He also successfully took on the challenge of building an air boat like he had seen on TV that run through the everglades.


After his retirement, he took on restoring a Grand Torino. It was in this cruiser car that he could be seen occasionally going for ice cream after he got it polished so it gleamed in the sun.


His wood working took on small projects as well, like the knotted wood he turned on his lathe into the wood work into bowls for his wife, and the bird houses and squirrel feeders he installed in his yard and around the farms of his friends.


His grandfather, who was a member of the RCMP and a vet, was a great influence on him. His grandfather’s guidance could be seen in how he cared for his garden, the trees he tended from seedlings to towering pines, through to his love of animals. His community knows of his effort to provide nesting areas to Canada geese at butter milk slough (Cold Lake), and his family knew of the joy he took in caring for the deer, squirrels and birds that passed through his yard.


He met his wife, Shirley Jo, at a dance in Buffalo Lake. He charmed his way into her heart. They married in the spring and were together for over 60 years. He was, and will always be, ‘her guy’.


He loved his home. He took great pride in the house he built by his own hands. He poured himself into every inch. He planned his house so it was a safe place for his family to grow up in and to provide him enjoyment and refuge in his later years. After retirement, he could often be seen either driving around his yard on his tractor or siting alongside his wife having coffee. Always he made sure his yard was just so, as it was a point of pride to him.


He showed is love through his service. He would worry about the weather on your behalf. He would remind you how to safely use one of the many trailers he built. He closely monitored and tended to his wife when she was sick. He worked diligently to get his construction projects perfect, even the squirrel feeders. Following naturally the carpenter’s creed of “measure twice and cut once”. He took the time to provide baby birds shelter when they had an accident while learning to fly. He was constantly planting seedlings of spruce and ponderosa pines and tending to their growth.


He loved a good joke. The sparkle could be seen in his blue eyes when he was being mischievous.


He was a natural conservationist of the land and the animals therein. He was an avid hunter and hunted around Buffalo Lake area with his close friend Ron Rider for many years. He also ice fished in the lake. Annually in the fall, he could be seen hunting Canada Geese, Mallard ducks or deer. He enjoyed this time with his friends while in nature. This same man who when went hunting in the fall, worried about the health of the deer when the winters were bad. He worried not for his hunting, but on behalf of the deer who suffered when the weather was extreme.


His green thumb showed in a variety of species. He was continually tending to his fruit trees, blueberry bushes and often convinced his wife to make him a pie from the fruit gathered. Apple pie being one of his favorites. He cared for his tamaracks, spruce and was especially fond of his ponderosa pine. While he was working he got into growing roses. He was very proud of his roses and was often bringing roses to his wife, his mother and the women he worked with. The roses came in every color but Mr. Lincoln, a red rose, was his favorite.


Dave could have been a lot of things in his life. He enjoyed a good meal, meat and potatoes with gravy in particular. Due to his upbringing, coupled with his love of hunting, he was a skilled butcher. This continued into the elder phase of his life where he still had an eye for the perfect cut of meat though this time it was focused on a newspaper flyer.


He was loyal, respectful to authority, and dependable. As a neighbor, friend, grandfather, father and husband he strove to be a person to be relied upon.


He enjoyed the life he lived. He hoped he made a positive difference to those people in his life. He fought to live, and we were not ready when he passed. His last words were to his wife, Shirley Jo, when he told her he loved her. We did not know this would be the last time he spoke. He was here and then he was gone.


We miss him dearly and see his presence everywhere we look. But he is gone. Gone hunting with his friends. We love you, Dave, dad, papa. You remain in our hearts.


A memorial service will be held at the Stettler Funeral Home, at 1:00 PM on Wednesday, July 17, 2024. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to STARS Air Ambulance. Come in bright colors and celebrate with us the life he lived.



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