Dennis was born November 6, 1936, to Mabel (Madsen) and Francis (Frank) Czech on the family farm in Elmdale, Minnesota. He was the middle child, having an older sister, Joann, and a younger brother, Donnie. When he was seven years old, Dennis sadly lost his father Frank to tuberculosis. His mother remarried Alois Ringwelski three years later. She and Alois gave Dennis and siblings a new little sister, Marjorie Jane, in 1947.
In 1957, Dennis met the love of his life while carpooling from the new family home in Little Falls to the Twin Cities. Harriet Mavis Clark was engaged to another man when Dennis told his friends, “I’m going to marry that girl!” He enchanted her, she broke her engagement, and married Dennis on May 10, 1958.
They settled in St. Paul and soon had four children, Pamela, Dennis Jr., Christopher, and Jerrold, who in turn did their part to carry on the lineage. Pam wed Paul Wheaton and gave Dennis two grandchildren (Marjorie and Alex) and 4 great-grandchildren. Dennis Jr. married Sheila McQuillan and gave him five grandchildren (Louis, Anna, Maureen, Monica, and Anthony) and 5 great-grandchildren. Chris married Melissa Junio and gave him three grandchildren (Jacob, Gabriella, and Michaela). Jerry married Kathy Zerfas and gave him two grandchildren (Tom and Joe).
Besides being a loving husband, father and grandfather, Dennis was well known for enjoying the outdoors as a hunter and fisherman, for his woodworking abilities, and for his appreciation of finding good deals at thrift stores or flea markets.
Dennis enthusiastically hunted with rifle, shotgun and bow in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. He also fished all that Minnesota had to offer. His children fondly remember Boundary Waters canoe trips and deer camp. He passed on to his children the outdoor gene, each is a hunter and fisherman as well. Dennis never missed a hunting season until his beloved Harriet fell ill. He exchanged his time in a deer stand to become her caregiver until her death in 2012 after 53 years of marriage – his love for her was far greater than his love of hunting!
Not only was Dennis a successful outdoorsman, the family often relied on his hunting skills to feed the them, but his woodworking skills were also impressive. He made and gave away beautiful cribbage boards, canes, toy trucks, crucifixes, banks, and more. He built cabinets and furniture, too. Never did Dennis sell his projects. He said, “God’s talent to me is meant to be shared, not sold.”
Some of his most famous woodworking skills came in the form of Pickle Boat Trophies. Dennis, Harriet, and dear friend, Aggie Averill, created a river race of boats made from cucumbers for their grandchildren’s entertainment. For 10 years, they championed the fun and festivities, which came to be treasured by friends and family alike! Most of these parties were held in Long Prairie, Minnesota, which was their residence from 2009 – 2021.
The last job Dennis held was the one he enjoyed the most. Not surprisingly, it was at Award Craft making trophies. His artistry shined through in his work there! As a young man he worked at Royal Café in Little Falls with his mother. Later in St. Paul, he went on to work at Swift and Company as a butcher, Hamm’s Brewery, and Sperry-Univac as crate builder in the shipping department.
We are comforted that Dad will be joining his siblings and parents in heaven, but if one were to sum up Dennis’ life in a sentence it would be, “He loved his dear wife Harriet with all his heart.” His world came to a crashing halt when Mom passed away; he sat waiting to join her. He took such tender care of her as she battled diabetes, dementia, and subsequent health problems. Although his passing breaks our hearts, we are pleased he has been reunited with his beloved Queen Harriet, and we thank them both for teaching us the meaning of marriage and family. Rest in peace, dear Dad.
"Wheresoever she was, there was Eden."
Adam in Mark Twain’s short story The Diaries of Adam and Eve
A 1-hour visitation, followed by a mass of Christian burial, begins at 10:00 a.m. on March 24 at Lumen Christi Catholic Church of St. Paul, MN. A luncheon to follow will be announced at the service. Donations in his honor can be made to the Make-a-Wish Foundation or Cretin-Derham Hall High School.
To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.