Dr. Dennis A. Wilson, 83, former resident of Grand Haven, Michigan, The Villages, and most recently Niceville, Florida, passed away Monday, March 8, 2021 peacefully at his home. Dennis (Denny) Wilson was born on March 3, 1938, in Manton, Michigan. During his lifetime he was an educator, college administrator, attorney and an active member of numerous organizations. He loved music and performed with several choral groups as well as community bands in Michigan and Florida.
Dennis was married 31 years to Martha Galmore who predeceased him in 1989. Together they shared many wonderful years raising their children and participating in church and community activities. In 1992 Dennis married Lois Voss, who was a wonderful spouse and companion. Together they enjoyed their retirement years in The Villages and Niceville, Florida; spending time with family and traveling through Europe and around the United States. He loved his combined family of 9 children, 17 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.
Dennis earned his BA degree from Central Michigan University, a master’s degree from Oklahoma State and a PhD from the University of Michigan (he loved all things Maize and Blue). In his early 40s he earned a law degree from the Thomas Cooley Law School. He was a public-school teacher and then a Dean of Students at Lincoln College in Illinois. Dennis was then appointed Dean at Muskegon Community College (MCC) where he served for 34 years until his retirement in 2003. In his time at MCC he started many programs that provided leadership training for the community including the Community Leadership Academy for both Grand Haven and Muskegon. He was President of the National Association of Student Development and was a board member of the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges. He also served on the North Muskegon School Board and the West Shore Symphony Board, was a founding member of the Dispute Resolution Center, president of Grand Haven Rotary, and was an Elder in the Presbyterian Church in Grand Haven, Michigan.
While in the Villages, Dennis was an active member of The Villages Concert Band, church choir, and organized Tuba Christmas and the Sunshine Stroller Clown Band that participated in various festivals and parades. He founded a local chapter of Love INC (In the Name of Christ) to serve those in need from the community and volunteered in the Meal Ministry. Dennis also served as a board member of Friends of Children Everywhere that supports a children’s home in Guatemala. He played softball and managed teams for 26 seasons, playing until age 78. Another of his hobbies was writing poetry, which resulted in 100+ of his poems appearing in The Villages Daily Sun Newspaper and four books of poetry for his friends and family.
Dennis was a member of the Crosspoint Methodist Church in Niceville, sang in the choir, and volunteered in several ministries. He had a keen interest in writing and American History and organized a men’s book club. Dennis taught a poetry class at Northwest Florida State College, founded a Niceville poetry club, and published a children’s book based on one of his poems.
Dennis was a lifelong learner and had a strong belief in the importance of education. He was proud and generous with his grandchildren to support their education and stressed the work ethic in his communication with them. He was most pleased that his children and now his grandchildren pursued higher education and were committed to professions that serve others. One of his goals in life was to encourage and empower people to use their gifts to serve the Lord.
A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, March 13, 11:00 am at Crosspoint Church, Niceville. Heritage Gardens Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements (heritagegardensfuneralhome.com). In lieu of flowers donations can be made to A Bed 4 Me Foundation (www.abed4me.org).
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