Dennis Kretschman

Grand Rapids, Michigan

1951 - 2018


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Kretschman, Dennis Dennis Kretschman, of Conklin passed away Monday, January 8, 2018 at the age of 66. He built a life of laughter, learning and love. He will be missed and always treasured. He was born August 28, 1951 to Art and Joan Kretschman in Lansing, Michigan. He attended Lakeland High...

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JBZS was my most valuable year of education.
I remember playing hockey on the pond, "quiet time" in the woods in all kinds of weather, learning how to enjoy being outdoors in the winter, making fires and cooking over them (with ashes for salt on the eggs? weird but true), canoeing, setting up tents and- even more importantly - how to roll up the tent to fit it in the bag afterwards, survival training, writing and performing environmental plays, logging company, zoology...

I would like to add my voice to the chorus of praise for Dennis Kretschman. Forty two years have passed since I attended JBZ, and the man is still inside me. What an astounding year of learning that was! What a phenomenal group of teachers--Dennis, Phil and Dori, Jim, Mr. Van B. We were truly blessed. To Dennis' family, my sincerest condolences. To his students--if you are eleven or twelve years old, in forty two years you will still be thinking of Dennis every time you light your...

This past July I passed Camp Hayo-Went-Ha from the beautiful blue waters of Torch Lake. The sun was shining and the colors were so intense that it filled me with the kind of hope and optimism that we sometimes lose as we get older. There was the fire pit, still on the sandy point with the wood benches circled around. I pictured the warm night, fire burning, Mr. K with his guitar playing "Let It Be" as we sang along.

Thank you for teaching us about the things that are...

I was a lucky student of this legendary teacher, and I am so grateful that my daughter was able to spend the last few months in his class. He was obviously a remarkable person, having impacted the lives of so many. There are so many lessons that he taught me that I carry with me. I send my deepest condolences to his family and close friends. Thank you for sharing him with us!

dennis on far right

I was a student of Dennis' early in his Zoo School tenure 1976-1977. Thinking back on all my years of schooling, 6th grade at Zoo School stands out as one of the best. Dennis and the entire Zoo School staff made all the difference. 50-60 students a year for 40+ years, Dennis influenced around 2500 students in his long career. Amazing.

Im so sorry about your loss. He sounds like a remarkable man. I'm just a GR citizen who read about his life and journey. A life well lived. My condolences to your family .

I curious could the Grand Rapids Scholl district consider renaming the school the Grand Rapids Dennis Kretschman Zoo School in his honor.

I think it would be a huge honor for the man who gave over 40 years to the school system and was an integral part of its creation and continued success. ...

Mr. Kretschman was a passionate teacher for whom I have great respect.He was a gifted teacher who found unique ways to use his knowledge to impact the lives of children to be passionate about learning and the environment. He made a profound impact on many lives for the better.
Former student,
Brian Knapp

Mr. K was the finest educator my daughter ever experienced. He should be an example to all and zoo school will never be the same. Our condolences to his family and the school system. - Jill and Nikki Nabozny