Charles Sylvester “Chuck” Dennis was born January 2, 1939 in New Deal, MT to Fritz and Erma Jean Dennis. He spent his childhood briefly in Sidney and the majority on a farm in Kalispell, Montana. He was one of seven children in the family. While in high school, he played football and was a gandly dancer for the railroad. He graduated from Kalispell High in 1958.
Upon graduation, he proudly enlisted in the United States Navy. A 20-year veteran, Chuck was a Chief Petty Officer and a master welder, working below water on various ships and overseeing 136 sailors. Throughout his naval career, he was stationed in South Carolina, Philippines, Japan, Hawaii, Spain and San Diego. He loved the sea and referenced his Navy credo of “the rougher the sea the better.”
He was married to Carole Fishel in 1958 and they had three children – Lynn, Kim and Cid. Chuck liked to tell the story of Lynn having dual citizenship in Japan and the United States and how it was “hard to get Lynn out of Japan” when she was infant!
He retired from the Navy in 1978 and moved briefly to Kalispell before settling in Sidney, MT where he worked for Dennis Plumbing with his brothers Moke and Gene. In 1983, he achieved a Master Plumber license.
In 1983, he married Doris Strasheim and they shared the next 35 years very much in love. They conquered life as a “blended” family with their combined eight children.
In 1984, he established his own business “Chuck’s Plumbing” and spent the next many years providing exceptional service to Sidney and the surrounding areas. He “retired” from plumbing in…,well, we really don’t know if he ever made retirement official!
Chuck and Doris (i.e. Ma and Pa) relocated to Billings, MT in September 2014. They set up a lovely home with a beautiful yard and hosted many family visits over their years at 801 Ave F! He endured more than a few health conditions for several years, primarily from so many years of hard work. In May 2020 he withstood open-heart valve replacement and within two months he was walking a mile and mowing the lawn! Dad had incredible strength, courage, and resilience. He believed anything worth doing was worth doing the right way. He passed this belief on to his children, and in particular his grandsons Chris, Bryan and Alex, all of whom spent many years working beside him plumbing. His children are incredibly honored and proud to call him Dad and Grampa.
Dad had many talents and possessed a vast knowledge on most anything mechanical. He enjoyed welding special metal works of art in his younger years. He restored a 1929 Model A to near perfection after moving to Billings. He also attended the Roaring 20’s Car Club and enjoyed having coffee with friends. Lowe’s, Home Depot and Costco were on his weekly trek through Billings. Mom and Dad attended Harvest Church in Lockwood with Doris’s brother Larry Knels.
Dad’s sweet “little one” Ella, an adorable 5-lb Chihuahua, was his faithful companion after Mom passed away. He would often say “me and Ella did so and so today” or “me and Ella went here and there today”. In his last hours he made sure we knew where Ella’s paperwork was located.
Dad was an incredibly kind man with a saucy sense of humor. His eyes would twinkle when he told stories, jokes and when he teased anyone. His “chucklesome” laugh and cheeky grin were endearing and two of the things we miss most about him. Dad loved ice cream, watermelon, coffee and BBQ ribs. He was a teacher, a leader and a mentor.
Dad passed away from COVID-19 on September 15, 2020 at St Vincent Hospital in Billings, with Cid and Carol by his side.
Chuck was preceded in death by his parents, wife Doris, mother and father in law Irene and John Knels, daughters Lynn Ross and Janice Schilling, son Jim Strasheim, sisters Phyllis Swenson and Cleo Ann Dennis, brother Fred Dennis.
He is survived by his son Cid (Amber) Dennis, daughters Kim Dennis, Carol Strasheim, Donna Strasheim, and Joyce (Pete) Sifers. Brothers Moke (Faye) Dennis, Gene (Pearl) Dennis, Dick (Pat) Dennis, and Guy (Angela) Dennis. Grandchildren Kenneth Dennis, Sierra Dennis, Steph Sifers, Melissa (Jim) Smith, Jennifer (Gavin) Morken, Michael Sifers, Chris Strasheim, Sarah Sifers, Bryan (Josey) Strasheim, Becky (Chad) Martin, Alex Strasheim, Kayla (Nolan) Anderson, Cassandra Strasheim and Matthew Strasheim. Great Grandchildren Kyle (Ashley) Strasheim, Trei Smith, Ryan Morken, Kory Strasheim, Addison Morken, Bella Strasheim, Miles and Aiden Sifers, Kylie Strasheim, Grace and Lily Martin, Harper, Brynlee and Briella Anderson, and great-great grandson Jack Strasheim.
The Man. The Story Teller. The Legend.
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