Sunday, March 5, 2017
2:00 PM to 5:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
4:30 PM the Rosary will be recited.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Dennis Lee Duffield was born on April 11, 1936 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania to Samuel and Anna Duffield. His father worked at Bethlehem Steel. Dennis had one brother, Sam, who was eight years older. He attended Williamsport High School.
Dennis was the first in his family to attend college. He attended Penn State University until 1957 and was a member of AXP (Alpha Chi Rho) fraternity. After transferring to the University of Pittsburgh, he attended a dance at Mount Mercy College, where he met a beautiful young woman who told him her name was “Kitty Desmond.” One month and 8 days later, he called her for a date and discovered that, in fact, her name was Barbara Ann Celinscak. The nuns weren’t pleased with Barbara Ann for giving him the wrong name, but Dennis and Barbara Ann were meant to be: they married in 1959.
Dennis obtained his Doctor of Dental Sciences Degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1961. He served as a Captain (dental officer) in the Air Force stationed at Bunker Hill AFB near Kokomo, IN from 1961 through 1963. Dennis practiced general Dentistry in Holland, MI from 1964 through 1972.
His first son, David, was born in 1962; his son Jeffrey, in 1964; and his twin daughters, Denise and Barbara, in 1968.
Dennis completed a residency in Pediatric Dentistry at Indiana University. In 1974, he established a practice in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He loved children, and made his office as fun as a dentist office could be. He and his partner John Deppen brightened their office with hopscotch carpeting, a giant Big Bird, a train track and mobiles that hung off the ceiling over the child-sized dental chairs. Trick-or-treaters who came to the Duffield’s house were given toothbrushes, but Dennis himself had a mighty sweet tooth: especially for Tootsie Rolls. He belonged to several professional organizations, where he made many friendships. Dennis retired in February 2011.
Family was central to Dennis’ life. He dearly loved his parents, brother, sister-in-law, aunts, uncles and cousins, and all of Barbara Ann’s family, too. He cherished visits, holidays, and traveling together in his parents’ motorhome. Dennis was a very generous man; he gave Barbara Ann and his children everything they could possibly need or want, including marvelous vacations throughout Michigan, Florida and California. He was delighted to welcome into the family his daughters-in-laws Kim and Joyce, and his sons-in-laws, Adam and Michael.
Dennis became a Grandpa in 1988 with the birth of his grandson Andrew, soon to be followed by Cody, in 1991, and a granddaughter, Anna, in 1992. Little did he know there would be four more grandchildren to come: Tyler, Joshua, Cameron and Brody. Dennis delighted in being a Grandpa, and took immense joy in spending time with his grandchildren. He enjoyed celebrating every birthday, school event, graduation, and holiday, taking his grandchildren for rides in the yard in a tractor-trailer, Easter Egg hunts, and best of all, Christmas. Dennis’ love for every family member was absolutely unconditional. He loved each of us, equally, tremendously, no matter what. Together, he and Barbara Ann created wonderful memories for their entire family. Dennis also loved family pets, especially his dogs Phoebe and Goober.
Dennis and Barbara Ann relished vacations of their own, too. They visited family in Pennsylvania and Ohio; their daughters in California and Washington DC; and Barbara Ann’s nephew Michael, in Washington state. They also took many cross-country trips together, both by train and by car, the most recent being just last October, when they drove all the way to California and back. Dennis and Barbara Ann knew that their children might worry about such a long journey, so they kept it a secret until they were well on their way, enjoying being the mischievous and rebellious ones for a change.
Dennis had many favorite hobbies and pastimes. He enjoyed fishing, most often in Lake Michigan on his boat, “Duff’s Dream,” and in recent years, Canada. He was a member of the Kalamazoo Steelheaders for many years. Dennis was also an avid bicyclist and a regular participant in the annual Michigander bike rides each July, which he often did with his brother Sam. Dennis also loved snowmobiling, especially with his son David’s family in Northern Michigan and the UP.
Dennis loved the great state of Michigan in all of her seasons. He enjoyed taking care of his home and property, from mowing the lawn to blowing snow from his driveway (and his neighbors’ driveways, as well). He was always making improvements.
Dennis had a wonderful sense of humor and loved to laugh and tease his wife, children, and grandchildren. He was also an avid reader of history, biographies, and fiction. He had to have a copy of the New York Times every morning, even while on road trips. Dennis was interested avidly in the world around him: in history, current events, and people from all backgrounds. He took immense pleasure in his morning routine, which started with a trip Starbucks on Stadium Drive, where he ordered a short Veranda, and visited with friends he had met there. He called this Starbucks his very own “Cheers” club.
Dennis also loved to learn new skills. After he retired, he took up woodworking, which he taught himself from trade magazines. He made dressers, a music stand, and began making chairs. He embraced technology, loved reading e-books on his Nook, and was learning to master his iPhone.
Dennis was a faithful Catholic, a member of St. John Bosco’s parish, and a friend to many parishioners there.
Dennis Duffield truly had a zest for life, and lived his own life to the fullest. He tried his very best to take care of himself, but God, it seems, had other plans. He knew he was loved fiercely by his family and friends, who will now miss him dearly. The size of our loss is equal to the size of our love for him, which is immeasurable.
We take comfort in knowing that he is now reunited with his parents, his brother, his grandson Cody, and other family members, free from physical limitations, in God’s love and peace.