On to college
At that time, Furman, a college in Greenville, S.C., had a much better team than it does now.
“When I was in college, we were a Division IA school and played the likes of Ohio State,” Larry Jepson said. “When Dennis was a sophomore, that ended and we went 1-AA. Then they didn’t have as many scholarships to give.
“When I played, we played Clemson, South Carolina, Penn State and Alabama. We beat Florida State. When Dennis was there, we played Clemson. We played them every year. “
After graduating from Furman, Dennis returned to Ashtabula and worked for the Social Security Administration, then a production supervisor at Rockwell, before transferring to Chattanooga with the same job. He went to OCS school and became a lieutenant in the National Guard.
Dennis’s first marriage didn’t take. But he remarried (his widow, Shirley) and the couple lived a happy life together for 44 years until his death. They raised six children together (Shirley’s children from an earlier marriage).
“He was a lovable man and was fun to be with and liked to tease and joke and had a wonderful sense of humor,” Shirley said. “He was very successful in his career and achieved top level management positions but was very humble and not the least political but continually rose in position because of a dedicated work ethic and attitude of respect for all of the people he worked with.
“He was very successful in his career, considering the fact that he didn’t have aspirations for titles or positions and would not play politics, even when situations might dictate it, and he wasn’t always ‘politically correct.’ His goal was doing the job well and on time and he was always fully vested in the well-being of everyone he worked with, whether a subordinate, a peer or the ones in superior positions. For that, he continually rose to higher positions and received accolades and compensation but, most of all, respect and admiration. Over the years he mentored several young men and women who went on to achieve successful corporate-level positions of their own and who, years later, still contact him and called him ‘boss man.’
“He was an officer in the Ohio National Guard and a long standing member of APICS (American Production and Inventory Control Society). He worked as materials manager for Rockwell International, both in Ashtabula and Chattanooga, Tennessee and for AVCO Aerostructures in Nashville, Tennessee. From there he worked as Plant Manager for ITT Thompson in Valdosta, Georgia and materials manager for Textron/Davidson in Americus, Georgia. He moved to Lebanon, Missouri in 1997 where he worked and retired from a materials director position with Emerson Climate Technologies.
“He was born Jan. 22, 1943 and passed away on Dec. 6, 2011. He was a loving, caring husband, father, son, brother and friend who lived by a strong moral code with an abiding faith in God and always stood firmly by what he felt was right. He was many things in many ways to many people who loved him dearly.”
For years, Dennis and Shirley biked and played tennis together. They both enjoyed bowling together and Dennis got quite proficient at it, averaging more than 200.
“He was a big man,” Shirley said. “He put a lot of body into (bowling). He had trouble controlling the ball; he had too much speed.”
Larick is a freelance writer from Geneva.