Dennis Jay Anderson, age 81, passed away on March 27, surrounded by loved ones at Aspire Senior Living. He was preceded in death by his parents, Donald and Lila Anderson of Appleton, WI.
Dennis met the love of his life, Theodora (Teddy) Kranzusch, when they were both 16, working at the Rio Theater in Appleton, WI. They were married for 62 years and had three children, Laura (Paul) Kilsdonk, Steve Anderson, and Jenny (Bob) Menning. He was a proud grandfather to Rob (Kelsey) Tullus, Lauren (Patrick) Aldrich, Jordan (Andy) Leon, Nathan Anderson, Teddy Anderson; step-grandchildren Katie Menning, Parker (Katie) Kilsdonk, Hailey (Nathan) Schmidt, and seven great-grandchildren. Dennis is further survived by his brothers Cary (Lyse) Anderson and Kirk Anderson.
Dennis graduated from Fox Valley Lutheran H.S. in 1959 and enlisted in the Navy at the age of 19. He married Teddy in January of 1961. While enlisted, he spent 4 years at Purdue University through the Navy and earned his bachelor's degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering. He attended Officer Candidate School in Rhode Island and flight training in Pensacola, FL. He spent one year in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot, flying a Huey Gunship, and was a proud member of the Seawolves squadron. He attended Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, CA, to obtain his Masters in Aeronautical Engineering. His last assignment before retiring was teaching at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, where he was Chairman of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Dennis retired from the Navy after 21 years and moved back to Appleton to work as the Manager of Pilot Training at Air Wisconsin for another 18 years.
Throughout his life, Dennis enjoyed his two favorite sports, running and biking. He competed in 39 marathons across the U.S. and Canada and competed in many long-distance bike races. Dennis and his family enjoyed backpacking and camping in the wilderness and traveling across the United States and many foreign countries.
Dennis succumbed to dementia and recurring cancer, and passed away peacefully in Aspire Senior Living, holding Teddy’s hand. His family would like to thank the amazing staff at Aspire Memory Care and his Hospice team. Dennis will be greatly missed, and his spirit will remain with us.
At the family’s request, private services will be held. For more information and to express condolences, please visit www.wichmannfuneralhomes.com.