Dennis Lee Updegraff
|Posted 2018-10-06 by Pat R|
|Wickenburg Funeral Home & Crematory|
Dennis Lee Updegraff
(April 12, 1949 - August 26, 2018)
Dennis L. Updegraff passed away peacefully in his sleep on August 26, 2018. Dennis was a resident at Royal Oak Assisted living in Surprise, AZ. He was 69 years old at the time of his passing.
Dennis was born to Louise and Elias Updegraff on April 12, 1949, in York County, PA. He grew up enjoying the great outdoors, playing the drums, sharing adventures with his two younger sisters and brother, and made lifetime memories at Camp Penn in Pennsylvania.
Upon graduating from Northeastern High School in 1967, Dennis joined the United States Airforce. While stationed in Kansas City, MO, he met the love of his life, Lou Ketchum. Dennis and Lou were married on Sept. 26, 1969. Dennis was sent to Vietnam, and Lou remained in MO. Upon completion of his tour, he chose to complete his service at the Air Force Radar base in Lakeside, MT. He always said he knew he was "Home in God's Country", when he rounded the bend on Hwy. 93 and saw Flathead Lake.
Dennis started work as a Deputy Sheriff with the Flathead County Sheriff's Dept. in 1972. He and Lou welcomed daughter Blaise that same year, and Raigan two years later. Dennis made sure his girls knew about the Lord first and foremost, and secondly how much he loved them. He shared his love for hunting, fishing, sports, music, and the great outdoors. He was always a patient teacher as well as their biggest fan and loudest cheerleader. Dennis was famous for showing up to the girls' basketball games wearing a rubber pig snout, proclaiming the "Flathead Rooter" was there and ready to cheer. No matter what activity, how busy his schedule, how far the drive--he was always ready to support and encourage his girls to aim for the stars and give their best.
Dennis loved to play golf and even made his own clubs. He made a set for each of the girls so he could teach them to enjoy the game as a family. Many hours were spent on the golf course. He enjoyed golfing with his son-in-law, Pete, and best friend Nathan Bemis. The highlight of his golf career was hitting a hole-in-one at Northern Pines Golf Course while playing with Pete and Nathan.
In 1992, Dennis earned his favorite title as "Grandpa", and welcomed granddaughter Kailee "Little Brown Eyes". He, along with Lou doted on her from the first moment he saw her. 2000, brought his second granddaughter Hailey, "Little Blue Eyes", and again it was absolute love at first sight. All of his girls--Lou, Blaise, Raigan, Kailee, and Hailey completed his world.
In 2001, Dennis lost Lou to cancer and took on the role of "Mom" and Dad. In trying to keep certain traditions alive such as special goodies for his granddaughters, he discovered a new passion for cooking. The family became test subjects for recipes...some great and others "experiments gone wrong".
After 34 years of service with the Flathead Sheriff's Dept., Dennis retired and set out to enjoy retirement, wanting to enjoy his family and the many hobbies he loved. Dennis' life revolved around serving the Lord, serving his community, and always being the "care-taker and protector", our Mr. Wonderful and Man-of-Steel. He was a man that believed in giving a hand up, not a hand out, and everyone deserved a second chance until they proved otherwise. He always tried to put people at ease and loved to make people laugh. He had an amazing sense of humor, loved to play practical jokes, and even enlisted Lou's help to pull off some "whoppers".
Dennis will be greatly missed but our many wonderful memories of him will always bring a smile to our faces and comfort our hearts. He has been reunited with his love Lou, and his family and friends who have gone before. What a glorious reunion!
A celebration of Dennis' life will be held on Oct. 20th in Surprise, AZ at the Royal Oak Home where he resided until his passing. Dennis will then return to his beloved Montana, where his homecoming can be shared and life celebrated amongst his many friends and family he dearly treasured. Further details for this celebration of a life well lived will be shared at a later time.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, please consider sending a contribution in his name to the Bill Rice Ranch, 627 Bill Rice Ranch Rd., Murfreesboro, TN 37128. Dennis and Lou had such a love for this Ranch as well as the Deaf Ministry and the Deaf Community. Contributions can also be made in his name to Camp Penn P.O. Box 511, 8005 Old Forge Road, Waynesboro, PA 17268. He would love to see this camp continue for future generations.
Dennis is survived by his daughters and their families: Blaise, Pete, & Hailey (Arizona); Raigan (Texas); Granddaughter Kailee and great grandsons Gunner and Archer (Florida); sisters Mary Hartz; Janet, Todd Strickhauser; brother David Updegraff and many cousins, nieces and nephews (Pennsylvania).
A special thank you to Royal Oak Home, Gabriella, Florine, Oxana, and Nina for being our "Angels on Earth", taking amazing care of Dennis and becoming forever a part of our family.
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