Dennis Lee Durrwachter

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March 24, 1953 - July 1, 2019
Born in St. Louis, MO
Resided in St. Peters, MO

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Dennis Lee Durrwachter, of Saint Peters, MO, passed away Monday, July 1, 2019 at the age of 66. Loving husband of Brenda Durrwachter; beloved son of Dorothy and the late John Durrwachter; dear son-in-law of Gladys Phelps; devoted father of Joel (Jayme) Durrwachter and Monica Combest; cherished grandfather of Blaise Durrwachter and John Lee Combest; dear brother of Robert Durrwachter, Steve (Roni) Durrwachter, Jerry (Shirley) Durrwachter, Greg (Joan) Durrwachter, Scott (Cindy) Durrwachter, and Jeff (Kelly) Durrwachter; he is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews.

Dennis proudly served his country with honor in the United States Air Force. He was a member of American Legion Post 312, the St. Louis Paralyzed Veterans of America - Gateway Chapter, Chapel of the Cross Lutheran Church, and was employed with Boeing for the past 39 years. He liked watching old movies, enjoyed woodworking, and tinkering around in the garage. He was a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and the Mizzou Tigers.

Dennis was also a remarkable person who taught his family how to persevere and enjoy life no matter what it throws at you. As a 20-year paraplegic (due to a small airplane accident in 1999), he refused to complain about his situation even though he had every right to.

He never allowed himself to be pitied or never fell into self-pity. His endurance, perseverance and work ethic were truly unfathomable, and were modeled to his family in ways that have permanently impacted their lives.

The irony was and is that he would emphatically deny being any type of an influencer but instead appealed to those who motivated him and gave him hope, courage and strength to not only endure, but to thrive with what he saw were the many opportunities that were possible.

Memorial contributions may be made in Dennis' honor to Chapel of the Cross Lutheran Church in St. Peters or to the St. Louis Gateway Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

Guestbook Entries

  1. Stanley Brown July 3, 2019 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    Dennis was a great friend and a great asset to our gateway PVA Chapter. He will be missed by me and all veterans. He was one of the smartest people I know and had a great sense of humor. At age 66, he died much too young. My sympathy to Brenda and his family.

    Stan Brown
    President
    Gateway Chapter, Paralyzed Veterans of America

  2. Nicole Williams July 3, 2019 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    candle 7You will be missed!

  3. Herb Bommer July 4, 2019 at 8:25 am - Reply

    candle 8RIP dear friend and teammate. We have known each other for 39 years. We worked together, discussed issues, went to events and celebrations, and commiserated together. You will be sorely missed.

  4. Debbie St. Cin July 4, 2019 at 9:37 am - Reply

    Sending prayers for the family. Den was a great and special man. I will miss him 💝

  5. Susan Lyle July 4, 2019 at 10:14 am - Reply

    Dennis was the Treasurer of the Gateway Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans (PVA) for many years. He was my co-worker, board member, mentor and friend. I always looked forward to our talks when he stopped by the Gateway PVA office, and to the suggestions he provided me on our newsletters. He will be missed by everyone at PVA and Jefferson Barracks Spinal Cord Injury Unit. My sympathy to Brenda and the entire Durrwachter family. May God ease your pain.

  6. Bill Miller July 4, 2019 at 11:13 am - Reply

    candle 8I was blessed to work alongside Dennis for many years and developed a special relationship. Very independent, not afraid to take on difficulties and challenges, and having the patience knowing that given enough time, a solution was always possible described his work ethic. But it was his sense of loyalty, ability to listen with an emphatic ear when sharing personal stories that kindled a unique friendship. I will miss him but knowing he was a strong believer in faith gives me the reassurance that he is with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

  7. Jack Bellagamba July 4, 2019 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    Den was and is more than my cousin, he’s my friend

  8. Kevin Creech July 4, 2019 at 4:22 pm - Reply

    candle 8I worked with Dennis “we called him the Doctor” he was a very talented engineer. He was always coming up with a diagnosis to help repair a machine. He was always very positive and encouraging and a great guy to work with. I know he will be missed. My wife and I will keep the family in our prayers.
    You have our deepest sympathy,
    Kevin and Mary Creech

  9. Michael D. Ragusky, Sr July 4, 2019 at 11:38 pm - Reply

    Brenda, Joel, Monica
    So very sorry for your loss.
    Dennis was a great man.
    Praying for the LORD’s comfort for all of you.

  10. Les Hoeckelman July 5, 2019 at 10:20 am - Reply

    A great person to work with on several McDonnell Douglas projects in St. Louis. Rest in peace.

  11. Jim Barteau July 5, 2019 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    candle 3A special kind of guy. We knew each other our entire live and Dennis had a big impact on my life. I am going to miss my best friend more than anyone will ever know.

  12. Randy Horst July 5, 2019 at 3:32 pm - Reply

    candle 8Greg,

    I am very sorry to hear of the loss of your brother. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  13. Lisa Smith July 5, 2019 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    candle 3My deepest condolences to the Durrwachter Family. May the Lord’s peace give you comfort at this difficult time. I only knew Dennis as we passed in the aisles at Boeing but he was always quick with a smile and friendly hello. He will be missed.

  14. Jerry Foster July 6, 2019 at 9:19 am - Reply

    candle 8Sorry About Dennis Thinking About His Family

  15. Curtis Mae Dykes Family July 6, 2019 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    candle 7Our deepest condolences and prayers are with you. We knew Dennis from his marriage to Brenda our cousin. We enjoyed his sweet smile.

  16. Brenda Durrwachter July 6, 2019 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    This candle I light for you, my sweet husband.
    I will miss you deeply.

  17. Pat Gibbons July 7, 2019 at 12:10 pm - Reply

    candle 6I have known Dennis as his manager of record or senior manager at Boeing since 2011, and our relationship was formed in the work environment, and has been evolving from there ever since. Even so, I get a sense from talking with others that Dennis was essentially the same person in everything that he did and was… and boy oh boy, was that guy a pretty great person to be or what? I really appreciated being able to attend his beautiful service yesterday and it inspired me to leave some enduring thoughts here. Please forgive the length, my team knows full well that brevity is not my strong suit. But I do speak (with my fingers) from the heart.

    =============

    I know that I am a better person for knowing Dennis, and if you asked anyone that had the opportunity to interact with him, I am sure that most would say the exact same thing. I will miss Dennis a lot, even the simplest of things like talking with him every week or two. I’ll miss his ever-present, quietly powerful inner-strength that helped to drive him forward. I will miss the way he could sometimes find solace, peace of mind and even contentment whenever he relentless focused his time and attention on reducing the suffering in the lives of others. I guess helping others alleviate their suffering has some additional benefits of alleviating some of his own personal suffering and it pleases me to think so.

    Sadly, for all of us, without warning, Dennis has passed on. It happened very suddenly and unexpectedly, without any of us getting an official explanation for why he had to leave, let alone being asked for our advanced approval. And so, now we must all grieve individually, for our own personal loss of having Dennis in our lives, like he was just a few moments ago. And collectively, we shall also continue to grieve together. I suspect we will grieve for quite a while, since these things can take time for everyone to work through. Even then, some of the sadness never really goes away completely, I don’t think. But, after having gone through this process once before, for my own father about 20 years ago, when he passed much too early at the age of 63, I am pretty sure the sadness eventually does give way and makes room for letting some happier memories take root again. (Which is good news since I don’t really like feeling sad all the time).

    Before we part ways, I would like to make one request of everyone. I’d like to encourage everyone to remember one thing to carry forward with them, and try to keep in the back of their mind. And that one thing is this: When he left us, Dennis also left behind a little bit of himself in each of us, and it’s right there, patiently waiting, and will continue to be there for us to draw upon, whenever we need it.

    I know, right? I was surprised when I found out too! Hopefully, that little trace of himself that he left behind for us includes some of his patented, drama-free, cautiously-optimistic attitude and even-keeled temperament that served him, and us, so well. If we are really lucky, maybe he also left us with some of that overall sense of calmness he projected, plus a little inner strength and some of that peaceful acceptance of an unpredictable world. I’m sure some of us could use a little more of each of those things. I know I sure could sometimes.

    All of us should try to remember that we have those options available to us right now, thanks to him. So make sure to check your inventory when you get a chance. If we choose to, we can all start to reflect in ourselves a little more of what we admired so much in Dennis. It can’t be that hard to figure it out, I wouldn’t think. And I also believe that Dennis would have been honored to learn that were just going to give it a try.

    So, in summary, remember, let’s all try to ocassionally reach a little deeper to find some of those favorite characteristics that Dennis taught us about and we admire. Work on letting those traces of his best characteristics mix in with our own existing behaviors. And who knows? With a little practice, maybe we could get good enough to put our enhanced behaviors on public display, for the rest of the world to see. We don’t have to be perfect clones or anything, just good enough to notice, just enough to show off a little. I’m sure some of those people from out there in the world could also benefit from emulating Dennis too, and at it certainly could do them some good just to simply witness us as we honor our friend Dennis, in the best way we know how.

  18. Gary Leftridge July 12, 2019 at 6:41 am - Reply

    candle 8Dennis was a part of the team that I was in at work. He always had something funny to say at the meetings. He will be missed.

  19. Shelley Stipes July 12, 2019 at 10:45 pm - Reply

    candle 6Brenda, Joel and Monica: I am so sad to hear you have lost a great husband and father and so young. I remember when I met him many years ago when you were so sick, Joel. He would do anything to make you well, he was so concerned about his son. I saw a strength in him that upheld your family during that time. I know you will miss him so much, but you can rest in the assurance as Believers in Jesus Christ, you will be reunited with him in spirit one day. Sending my love to you all today and the days and weeks ahead.

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