A Legend is Gone …|
Dennis Merrill Dye passed peacefully in his home with family surrounding him on October 24, 2016. Dennis was born February 15, 1935, to Arthur Clair and Althea Teeples Dye in Firth, Idaho. He was sandwiched between two older sisters, Hattie Fay and Betty Jean (who were always ready to join him in many fun and daring activities) and two younger sisters, Shanna and Beverly (whom were often the recipients of his teasing and fun-loving nature).
Dennis had many adventures while growing up on the Fort Hall Reservation near Firth; he learned to farm with his father whom he loved and admired greatly. Nothing but hard work and exactness was acceptable, and Dennis exemplified those qualities throughout his life. He was a "get it done" kind of guy and that quality served him particularly well!
At the age of thirteen while harvesting potatoes, his little dog began running alongside the potato digger. Fearing that the dog was in danger, Dennis reached down to get it out of the way, and his jacket was caught by the PTO (power take off). The result was that his right arm was torn away. Though this was devastating to an active right-handed boy who loved to play football and swim in the Blackfoot River, hunt and fish in the foothills of the Reservation, it didn't keep him down, and he went on to prove that he was capable of doing great things. In fact it became a personal challenge to him to learn and do everything anyone else could do … and he did! His sisters tried to mother him, but he wouldn't have any of that! His mother refused to let him feel sorry for himself, and encouraged him to do all the normally expected things young men do, and then tried not to let him see her cry.
As Dennis grew to young manhood, he showed that he was intelligent, ingenious, and a darn, hard worker. After his father died when Dennis was 18-years-old, he finished the farming activities on his father's land as he felt the responsibility of taking care of his mother and sisters. When his mother sold the farm and bought the country store in Rose, Idaho, Dennis began attending Ricks College in Rexburg.
While at Ricks, he saw a cute little redhead whom he was immediately attracted to, and declared, "I'm gonna' marry that girl", and he did!
Dennis served for two years in the Northern States Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where he worked among the Oneida and other Indian Tribes as well as in several branches in Wisconsin and Michigan areas. He honorably served touching many lives and bringing souls to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He loved those whom he served!
After his release he drove his car straight to Palo Alto, California, to claim that beautiful redheaded nurse with whom he had corresponded with for those two mission years. Julia Ann Edwards and Dennis Merrill Dye were sealed for time and all eternity in the Idaho Falls Temple on June 27, 1958. Dennis tried working at various jobs until he finally returned to farming, the job he loved the most, beginning his farming career at 2W Farms. About a year after their marriage, Arthur, Art, joined their family. Then came Teressa Ann 'Terri', followed by Tena. Mark E joined the clan with Jason bringing up the rear.
The years of raising and providing for a growing family were full of challenges and lots of fun. He moved his family to Rising River for the first years while Dennis farmed, then moved to Chubbuck to their home on Teton Street where industry continued … Julia Ann directing the children's activities in the garden and yard, growing and preserving fruit and vegetables while Dennis provided wild game and support. The Dye's loved to camp, hunt, and fish together. The Blackfoot River was their favorite "get-away" (following the tradition of Dennis' father's family). There was always lots of love and laughter and the memories that were made have been treasures for each of their children. Even to this day one can find the Dye kids, their kids, and now their grandkids at the Blackfoot River every Memorial Day and holidays in between.
Dennis spent long and hard hours farming to support his family, while Julia Ann held down the fort. Their children were taught by the best examples of parenting. And as the children became adults they welcomed in-laws and then grandchildren whom they enjoyed and loved. Then one fall day on September 22, 1995, Dennis lost his precious sweetheart, Julia Ann, to a blood disorder. It was a terrible heartbreak for the family, and particularly to Dennis. After her passing, Dennis learned to make bread for his son, Jason, the only one still at home, so that Jason would continue to enjoy homemade bread. Dennis continued to farm, now with Albert Johnson, where he managed all the farming activities while constantly upgrading the procedures and equipment. He was an able farm manager who was trusted to do the best job and make the right decisions.
When the Johnson farms were sold, he had the responsibility of liquidating the equipment and assets. It was a difficult time for him as he realized that his farming career was coming to a close. Nevertheless he spent countless hours getting the job done before retiring. Not being ready to quit, he accepted the offer to work for the John Deere operation in Blackfoot, which he did for a few years.
Dennis served in many capacities in the Church and community. He particularly was influential and involved with the youth always approaching activities with a fun-loving and challenging approach. He made believers out of many skeptical folks as he accomplished the near impossible feats of strength and balance. Many people set aside their own doubts as they witnessed Dennis do what they didn't think they could do themselves.
He was a diligent and committed servant of Jesus Christ. He was never hesitant to take a challenge. He served as a counselor in several bishoprics, on the Chubbuck Stake High Council, and as a the Bishop to the Chubbuck First Ward, then later as a mission president of the University Stake where he led ninety plus young people to success. He was loved as he served locally as well as in Montana and Alabama and folks were always appreciative of his personal kindness and concern.
A couple of years after Julia Ann's passing, some friends set him up on a blind date with LaNae Hill Millward who had moved to Chubbuck from Arizona after her divorce. After a whirlwind romance, they fell in love and were married for time in the Idaho Falls Temple on June 18, 1997. A year later they returned to the temple to be sealed for time and eternity. Dennis' children were accepting of her and LaNae's children grew to love and appreciate him as a wise and kind father. It wasn't always easy for Dennis, whose children were all pretty much raised to adulthood, to take on a younger family, but it was doable, and do it, he did.
Dennis and LaNae had much fun together. He taught her how to fish, and they traveled and camped, laughed and served. After remodeling and enlarging their home on Teton Steet, in 2002 they were called to serve a mission with the Church Education System in Billings, Montana, for 18 months.
After being home for a few years they were again called to serve a second mission, proselytizing in the Florida Tallahassee Mission. Here they served and loved the people of Eufaula, Alabama, for another eighteen months.
Dennis was loved wherever he went and touched many, many lives. His example of selfless service and hard work were inspiring to all who knew him. He was not one to give up, but saw the job to the end. One of the highlights of Dennis' golden years was killing a large moose at the age of 80 years. His children facilitated this opportunity for him, he was still an exact and excellent marksman, and we've been eating moose meat ever since last fall!
Dennis' quick wit and smile will be missed along with his loyalty and love for his friends and family.
He is survived by his wife, LaNae, at home in Chubbuck; his son Art (Shauna) Dye of Ogden, UT; daughter Terri (John) Oborn of Chubbuck; daughter Tena (Phil) Richardson of Chubbuck; son Mark E Dye (Covina) of Soda Springs, ID; Jason T Dye (Hailey) Pocatello; stepchildren: Cody (Keri) Millward of Wichita, KS; Gard Millward of West Jordan, UT; Jynnae Smedley of Chubbuck; Dell Millward (Tillie) of Las Vegas, NV; Annique (Jed) Dayley of Chubbuck, ID; Russell C. (Megan) Millward of Pocatello; and many wonderful grandchildren and great grandchildren, his sisters, Beverly (Gary) Hirschi of Chubbuck, and Shanna (Claylon) Perkins of Arbon, ID, and many loved nieces and nephews.
Dennis is preceded in death by his parents, Arthur Clair Dye and Althea Teeples Dye Ward; Julia Ann Edwards Dye, Dennis' wife; Hattie Landon, sister; Jack Landon, brother-in-law; Betty Anderson, sister; Quinn and Bryce Millward, step-sons; John Smedley, son-n-law; Griffin Millward, grandson.
The family thanks the wonderful and caring hospice service of Encompass and the many volunteers who so lovingly took care of Dennis and his family during his last days. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Dennis Dye's name to Primary Children's Hospital for children who have lost a limb online at https://give.intermountainfoundation.org/primary-childrens-hospital or mailed to Primary Children's Hospital Foundation PO BOX 58249, Salt Lake City, Utah 84158.
A viewing will be held at Wilks Funeral Home on Friday, Oct. 28 from 6-8 p.m. Dennis' funeral will be held at the LDS Church on the corner of Hawthorne and Chubbuck Roads at 11 a.m. with a viewing proceeding at 10 a.m. Interment will be at the Firth Cemetery following the funeral. Condolences may be sent to the family online at wilksfuneralhome.com.
Published in The Morning News on Oct. 29, 2016