Daniel Ross Denneler, 97, of Colby, Kansas, passed away peacefully on February 2, 2023. Dan was born on July 27, 1925, in Winchester, KS, to Carmelita Virginia Barnes Denneler and Alexander Hamilton Denneler. He graduated from Jefferson County High School and received a farm deferment for World War II so that he was not entered into the draft.
Dan went to Kansas State University majoring in Civil Engineering. While in college, he joined the Army ROTC program in 1952. Once Dan graduated from Kansas State, he attended Advanced ROTC training at Fort Bliss, Texas in Anti-Aircraft Artillery. Dan was sent to Korea, making several brief stops for the aircraft to refuel – one memorable place was Anchorage, Alaska. Once Dan was in Korea, he lived in a dugout and was on the front lines, shooting from one hill to the other, not being able to see the enemy. Dan shared a story about how lucky he was to be alive. At the end of his tour of duty, Dan’s replacement took the same route, but the replacement and Jeep driver were hit by artillery shells and both were killed. Dan was discharged in 1958 as a 1st Lieutenant. Dan began his federal career with the Soil Conservation Service in eastern Kansas, working for 34 years for that agency and serving nine counties in western Kansas.
Dan met the love of his life Margaret Ellen Suther in 1960 at a Catholic Valentine’s dance in Topeka, Kansas. They were married in Frankfort, KS on November 26, 1960, and took a three week, driving honeymoon to Mexico City in Dan’s Desert Rose pink Edsel. Margaret and Dan lived briefly in Atchison, then Garden City, then came to Colby in 1962 and built their life here. They were blessed with five, alphabetically-named children – Anne, Brenda, Charles, David, and Eric.
Over the years Dan was devoted to many loves. He volunteered at Sacred Heart Catholic Church as caretaker of the cemetery, in the Knights of Columbus, and as an usher. From his retirement in the nineties, he meticulously tended the cemetery until 2022. He loved the outdoors – trimming trees, driving tractors, farming, mowing and tending the yard. He had a strong sense of community and donated blood until he was 92.
Dan was a wonderful son, husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He is survived by his wife Margaret; sister, Mary Collins (Richard) of Sun City, AZ; daughters, Anne Pettit (Terry) of Fort Collins, CO and Brenda Drei (Andrew) of Dallas, TX; sons, Charles Denneler (Laura) of Lawrence, KS, David Denneler (Jaton) of Colby, KS and Eric Denneler (Sandra) of Wichita, KS. Dan has 12 grandchildren: Ashley (Aaron) Weigel, Casey (Grace) Denneler, Alyssa Denneler (Robert) Girard, Mason Denneler, Katherine Pettit Wagenschutz (James), Emma Pettit, Sean Drei, Ryan Drei, Sammy Drei, Gus Denneler, and Bea Denneler. He is survived by six great grandchildren: Archer Weigel, Jacob and Jadin Hall, Kynzlee Denneler, Chase Wagenschutz, Zoe Wagenschutz.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Alexander and Carmelita Denneler; twin baby brothers and sisters Doris Ann and Paula.
The family will receive friends from 5-7:00 p.m. with a vigil at 7:00 p.m. Monday, February 6, 2023, at Baalmann Mortuary, Colby. A Memorial Mass will take place at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, February 7, 2023, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Colby, with inurnment in the Sacred Heart Cemetery. Memorials may be mad to Sacred Heart School and sent in care of Baalmann Mortuary, PO Box 391, Colby, KS 67701. For information or condolences visit www.baalmannmortuay.com