Dennis Tierney
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Dennis Tierney

Junction City - Dennis Edward Tierney, of Junction City, died on Tuesday, January 8, 2019. He was 76 years old.

Dennis was born in Rockford, Illinois to Thomas Donald Tierney and Irma Blackford Tierney. While he was raised in Janesville, Dennis's childhood was spent in equal parts fishing and boating on the Rock River near Brodhead.

As a young man, Dennis also enjoyed traveling and automobiles. He managed to marry those passions with collegiate sojourns in Florida and Hawaii, all the while speeding through palm tree-lined streets in his Austin-Healey convertible.

Wisconsin, however, was his home. Upon his return, he met and married his wife, Lani (née Smith) and earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees at UW-Madison. Soon thereafter, he accepted a position in the career services office at UW-Stevens Point, motivated in no small part to facilitate the Canadian musky fishing excursions he so treasured.

In 2001, Dennis concluded his career at UWSP as Deputy Assistant Chancellor for Student Affairs and as a member of the psychology department's tenured faculty. In addition to his roles as an adviser and mentor, Dennis was also a major fundraiser and athletic recruiter. It was in recognition of those activities that Dennis was inducted into the UWSP Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014.

Among his many professional achievements, Dennis valued his stewardship of the University, his numerous scholarly publications and articles, and the transformative effect of higher education. He celebrated his mother and her exploits as an author and poet; it was from her that he inherited his sharp wit and wry humor. Dennis loved the Wisconsin River and his house on Second Lake. Above all else, Dennis was immensely proud of his son Dan, for whom he served as an enthusiastic youth sports coach, role model, and unyielding supporter and champion.

Dennis is survived by his wife, Lani, of Junction City; his son, Daniel, and daughter-in-law, Jennifer, of Boston, Massachusetts; and his sister, Nancy, of Brodhead. Dennis is preceded in death by his mother, father, and his brothers Michael and Terence.

A memorial service will take place at Dennis's home later in the spring; please visit for more details in the coming weeks. Finally, Dennis's family would like to thank Marcia McDonald and the rest of the staff at Portage County Health Care Center for their compassion and support.

Pisarski Funeral Home is honored to be serving the family. For online condolences please visit

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Stevens Point Journal on Jan. 11, 2019.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
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2 entries
June 12, 2019
I'm so sorry to learn that Dennis
has died. I still commemorate him and the great time we had when we had our student exchange.
Ulrich Bähren
January 11, 2019
So sorry to hear of Mr. Tierney's passing. He was a lively and caring presence at UW-SP who encouraged me tremendously during my college career. He got me my first job in the writing business (at UW-SP News Service), a field I'm still in, and he strongly encouraged me to take advantage of the International Studies program, a decision that changed my life. He had a great sense of humor and he always believed in me. On the very short list of people who helped me the most in life, Mr. Tierney has a place. My condolences to Mrs. Tierney and their son.
Matthew Lewis
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