Dennis Darryl Klute
Dennis Darryl Klute of Litchfield Park, Arizona passed away quietly on September 4, 2019, with his sons Darryl and Robert and daughter Dee Dee by his side. He was 98.
Born February 28, 1921, in York County, Nebraska, Dennis enlisted in the US Army in 1941. He was stationed in San Francisco and it was there that he met his future wife Ardelle Brown of South Dakota. He was subsequently deployed to the Aleutian Islands where his division was training for the invasion of Japan should it be necessary.
After the war, Denny returned to Omaha and, in 1946, moved to Sioux City, Iowa to begin his career with Nu-Way Drug Service, Inc. Tenacious and hardworking, he advanced steadily through the ranks to vice-president and general manager of the Sioux City operation. Admired and respected by his peers, he was elected president of the Service Merchandisers of America. Denny was a member of the Kiwanis Club and served as a director of the Sioux City Boys Club. In 1977, Nu-Way Drug’s parent company Pamida, Inc consolidated its operations in Omaha. Denny served as a senior vice-president and was instrumental in the smooth transition of the satellite warehouses into a new distribution center.
In 1979, at the age of 58, Denny retired from Pamida and moved to Litchfield Park, Arizona. For the remainder of his life, he and Ardelle spent their winters in Litchfield Park, where Denny played golf with endless patience and great joy, and the other half of the year at their beloved summer home in Kenora, Ontario. They fell in love with Lake of the Woods in 1954 and, for the next 64 years, the thousands of islands and world-class walleye fishing became Denny’s breathtakingly beautiful slice of heaven. In 2007, Dennis downsized and moved to Good Shepherd Senior Living in Peoria, Arizona.
Denny was a huge sports enthusiast. He loved many kinds of hunting (he was especially proud of an expedition to Africa) and was an avid fisherman. He was impeccably well versed in the achievements and statistics of professional athletes, particularly football and baseball players. He coached little league baseball in the 1950’s and attended six World Series games through the years. His exuberance for baseball continued through many spring training games during his brother Don’s annual winter visit, right up through this past season.
An avid reader, Denny would commonly read two newspapers from cover to cover each day. He was always current in world and local events, politics, and of course, baseball and football. Many around him benefited from his views and opinions.
Denny was a life-long member of the Lutheran Church. Trinity Lutheran Church in Litchfield Park was his spiritual home for close to thirty years.
Denny was blessed to the end with an exceedingly sharp mind and a flawless memory. He awed us with the details he remembered. The joke to the very end was that if a room full of family and friends couldn’t remember something, they resorted to “let’s ask Dennis, he will know!”
At the age of 95, Denny was the proud recipient of an Honor Flight to Washington, DC.
Denny was deeply determined, strong-willed and quick-witted. He was proud and fiercely independent to the end. When someone asked, “Where is your cane, Dennis” the reply was always the same: “I don’t need a cane!”
Denny brightened many lives with his wide, infectious smile and generous spirit. In the eyes of his immediate family, and many who met him throughout his life, he was very nearly larger than life. He will be sorely missed.
Denny was preceded in death by his wife Ardelle, his brother Lowell and his sister Margaret George. He is survived by his brother Don of Bradshaw, Nebraska, and three children: Darryl of El Cajon, California, Robert (Bob) and his wife Bic of Grand Prairie, Texas, and daughter Dee Dee and husband Craig Evans of Redondo Beach, California. He leaves grandchildren Tracy, Bobbi Jo, Jason and Julie, and great-grandchildren Christopher, Cristian, Samantha, Tyler and Madison.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, October 5th at 9:00 AM at Trinity Lutheran Church, 830 Plaza Circle in Litchfield Park. All are welcome to a celebratory luncheon immediately following the service, in the Tuscany Falls Ballroom of the Pebble Creek Country Club at 16222 Clubhouse Drive.
Interment of Dennis and his Ardell will take place at 1:00 pm, Friday , October 4, 2019, at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 23029 N Cave Creek Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85024.
Those who wish to express their sympathy are asked to consider sending donations in memory of Dennis Klute to Trinity Lutheran Church Plaza Circle, Litchfield Park, AZ 85340.