Dennis (Denny) Wilwerding (79) was born on October 23, 1943 in Omaha, the first in his Iowa family to be born there. He was the youngest of his 7 siblings by 9 years, who have all preceded him in death. He graduated with a bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering from Creighton University before seeking post-graduate degrees at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. There he met Mary Lou Knueven while creating homecoming floats, and both were immediately smitten. Denny stayed longer at Marquette after Mary Lou finished her RN/BSN, obtaining double Masters in Math and Physics. Upon his graduation, they married on June 10, 1967 in her hometown of Leipsic, Ohio.
Denny worked for Honeywell most of his life, starting in the Twin Cities of Minnesota and then moving his burgeoning family to Littleton, where they picked out a house across the street from St. Mary's Church. St Mary’s Church, school, and community became the center point for them and their family. Denny and Mary Lou would live in that house together for 52 years and raise 5 children there: Marie (Brad Venner), Peggy (Greg McCall), Joe (Uta Letbetter), Laura (Mark Ancell), and Karen (Troy Rundle). Their home is now full of all the “inlaws and outlaws” and their 11 grandchildren on holidays, as well as many other times of the year. Denny and Mary Lou were surrounded by their children and grandchildren when they celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary this past June.
Denny was a devoted father, husband, engineer, and inventor. He delighted in woodworking and electronics, creating fun toys for his children and grandchildren, and always had time to pull someone on the tree swing in the backyard. He worked at Honeywell for over 30 years, during which time his inventions included original camera autofocus systems, and many flashes and sensors, over 40 patents in total. He trained the astronauts on SkyLab to use his equipment and attended launches, and took many other trips with Mary Lou to Japan, Hawaii, and Europe, in addition to family vacations stateside. He made a point to share his love of travel and of Europe with each of his children, and continued taking small trips with his family until shortly before his passing.
Denny was an active parishioner and parish council member in the St. Mary's community from 1970 on, and was a founding member of St. Mark in Highlands Ranch as well. In his later years, in addition to his hands-on “fix it” work, he helped people around the world, and was active in many social causes related to climate change and replacing Columbus Day as a Colorado state holiday with Mother Cabrini Day. He will be greatly missed by his family, church community and friends, and many Front Range leaders in Colorado who knew and appreciated his work and willingness to show up, to join in and help others.
In lieu of donations or flowers, the family requests that you honor Denny’s legacy of generosity and activism. We invite you to become an organ and blood donor, spend extra time with your family, get informed and be active about climate change, give back to each other and your community, and to always live life with love.
Rosary at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Littleton CO – 7:30 pm Thursday December 1, 2022
Funeral Mass at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Littleton CO - 1:00 pm Friday December 2, 2022.