Cover photo for Dennis Ray Peterson's Obituary
Dennis Ray Peterson Profile Photo
1935 Dennis 2023

Dennis Ray Peterson

September 29, 1935 — April 19, 2023

“You know what I heard?”

“You know what I saw?”

These are the opening lines of Dennis Ray Peterson’s favorite jokes, which he told countless times and without explanation to generations of perplexed children. (He thought it was very funny that you didn’t get the joke!)

Denny was born in a little house on the corner of 5th North and 2nd West on September 29, 1935 to Annie Barker Poppleton Peterson and Franklin Olif Peterson in Logan, Utah. It is impossible to know how much good-natured chaos he and his older sister, Shirley, stirred up with their brothers, Louis, Jay (Bud), Carl and Floyd; but their wit and love of mischief, resulted in endless legendary stories that Dennis loved to tell, and we never tired of hearing. Perhaps, not coincidentally, early photos show him dressed like Dennis the Menace, long before that character appeared in the comics.

His love of routine began early in life. When there were no graham crackers or blankets for a nap on the first day of first grade, he walked home, sat down at the kitchen table, and asked his mother what was for lunch.

He adapted to the rigors of first grade, and successfully navigated Ellis Elementary, Logan Junior High and Logan High School, while developing a great love for the outdoors. He spent countless hours hunting and fishing with his brothers, and any of the kids lucky enough to tag along. Late in life, he loved the pheasants that frequented his yard and may or may not have conversed with the rooster when he thought no one was watching.

In some ways, not much changed for Dennis over his first three decades–in 1964 he was living in that same little house, where, growing up, his father had nailed the Christmas tree to the floor to keep the cat from knocking it over. Except, now he drove a red ‘56 Ford pick-up and sometimes he fixed his own lunch.

Then SHE walked by, and everything changed–but not all at once.

Marion Grace Snow had recently moved to Logan with her parents and two sons from a previous marriage: seven-year-old Steven and three-year-old Scott. Conveniently, she lived just half a block away, and seemed to pass by rather often. Whether she went that way because it was the straightest line to Main Street, or she was just hoping to see Dennis out working on his truck, isn’t terribly important; because both answers led to the same happily-ever-after.

As anyone who went with him to buy peaches (in Brigham City…Perry…Willard… and SOUTH Willard), or who went with him to every Christmas tree lot in Logan will attest, Dennis took his time with changes and decisions both big and small. His happily-ever-after was no different, and so, in 1967 Jeff Leishman told Denny to ask Marion out. We are all so grateful for Jeff’s encouragement in that matter, and for the many years of faithful friendship he and his wife, Betty, shared with Dennis and Marion, ministering to them to the very end.

Steven and Scott loved their grandparents, but wanted a more traditional family. The prospect of a dad who hunted, fished and played ball was icing on the cake for Scott. Steven appreciated the more significant qualities, including a new audience member with an easy, contagious laugh.

Denny and Marion were married February 16, 1968 in the Logan LDS Temple and as quickly as possible, he legally adopted the two boys. Dennis promised her that their first baby would be a girl. He was right! Happily, their family grew when Lorelle was born in 1971, followed by Ryan in 1973.

Denny worked hard to support his family–often working long graveyard and swing shifts without complaint. For over forty years he drove to and from Thiokol, pulling pranks on his colleagues in the carpool, and playing cards on their breaks. “There aren’t any friends in Hearts!”

He served faithfully in every calling given to him at church and especially loved serving in the branch presidency at the Senior Living Center. He kindly ministered to the members there and enjoyed sharing the bounties from his garden with them.

Dennis didn’t talk a lot, much less about his feelings, until you put a deck of cards in his hands. Instead, he showed his warm and generous heart to those he loved through his meticulous attention to detail in everything that he did for them, and by ruthlessly beating them at Rummy, Hearts or Pinochle.

He had a workbench in the basement and another in the garage, with decades of neatly stacked Family Handyman magazines on a shelf. He made sandboxes for his grandchildren, cradles for their dolls, and did any DIY project around the house Marion asked him to...eventually. He really was her perfect catch.

On sunny days, Denny spent hours adjusting his sprinklers, planting flowers, tending tomatoes, and harvesting corn, squash, cucumbers and apples. In the evenings, he loved to sit in his chair and flip channels, watching every ball game, military history program, and Gunsmoke rerun he could find, while Marion kept up with her hobbies in her corner.

Denny and Marion loved to travel; after retiring, they visited many more places and countries than they ever imagined they would. Based on her extensive journals, Marion estimated that they logged close to 100 flights together. Their children and grandchildren adored their visits and enjoyed their company. Some of their favorite trips were an Alaskan Cruise and visits to Jackson Hole with their good friends Faye Loosle and Marilyn Olsen.

In later years, the pandemic and then Marion’s declining health often kept him at home. Dennis was faithfully by her side the entire time, ready to do anything to make her happy or more comfortable, including learning to make and decorate cookies, or delicious meals so they could continue the traditions that shaped their lives. He soldiered on after she died four months ago, but his heart wasn’t in it. Even returning to church without her and facing questions about how he was doing was just too hard. He passed away peacefully in his favorite chair following lunch, TV blaring, with the portrait of his sweet spouse, strategically placed in her corner to oversee the room—smiling down at him.

Dennis is survived by his children, Steven, Scott (Lisa Canfield), Lorelle (Scott Bewley) and Ryan (Sharla Roe); 13 grandchildren, and 21 great-grandchildren (including…the bears, fuss-budget, bossy-boss, moose-mouse, “pitty” girls, minute-face, potato-head, pickle miss, miss mouse, as well as various toady-toads and fat-birds). He was preceded in death by his parents, siblings and Marion.

While we have no doubt that Dennis is exactly where he wants to be, we are sure that without his expertise we will spend the rest of our lives eating peaches picked too early, corn picked too late, and steak not cooked just right. If we could have one more day with him, we would spend it watching the kids play in the yard, drinking a Pepsi, losing to him at cards, and trying to figure out why it’s funny that he “heard” sheep or saw wood.

A funeral service will be held on Saturday, April 29 at Nelson Funeral Home (162 E 400 N, Logan) at 12 noon. A viewing will be held prior from 10:30-11:30 at the same location. Interment will follow the funeral service at the Logan City Cemetery.

Following the interment, family and friends are invited back to their home (272 W 500 N Logan, UT. 84321) for an informal celebration of Dennis' life. Please bring a covered dish and look for information on the tribute wall for the lantern project.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dennis Ray Peterson, please visit our flower store.

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