Varnum Dennis (Denny) Phillip Spicer Jr. passed away peacefully in his sleep on February 7, 2019, at his home in Punta Gorda, Florida.
He was born June 8, 1923 in Bremerton, Washington to Varnum Dennis Phillip (Phil) Spicer and Amzel Phillips Spicer. He lost his twin brother Verne Deral Emmons Spicer to illness when the boys were six. Dennis lived much of his young life in Centralia, WA. Because his father was career Navy, Dennis lived many other places including Hawaii, Point Loma, CA, and Great Lakes Michigan, before graduating from Centralia High School in spring of 1942. Dennis and his friends who called themselves the Dirty Nine served in World War II. They agreed if they all survived, they would get together at least every five years. They were able to do so until the group members were in their nineties.
While in the Navy, Dennis married his high school sweet heart Gale Annette Griggs on March 21, 1945 in Harvard Chapel in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Navy sent Dennis to several schools including Harvard and North Dakota School of Education. He served in the Pacific Theater in Saipan at the same time as his father Phil served in another part of the Pacific.
After the war Dennis and Gale moved to Detroit where Dennis received his MBA at Wayne State University. Dennis and Gale then returned to Washington living in Seattle and then Bremerton. Their first child Varnum Dennis Phillip Spicer III was born in Seattle in 1949. Their other three children were born in Bremerton, Annetta in 1950, James in 1954, and Camilla in 1955. Dennis taught fifth and sixth grades in Bremerton until 1956 when he joined the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He lived with his family in Billings, MT, Fort Washakie, WY, and Dixon, MT. In 1963 he went to the Yakama Reservation where he stayed until his retirement.
After retirement Gale and Dennis moved to Selah, Washington and indulged their love of travel, seeing much of the world. They traveled extensively in the US, Europe, China, Japan, South America, and the South Pacific. Their last trip was a cruise in the Southeastern United States shortly before Gale’s death in 2013. They were married for 68 years. Son James died in 2012.
Dennis is survived by his son Varnum (Donna) of Lynn Haven, FL, his daughters Annetta (Bill) of Heppner, OR, and Camilla (Frank) of Punta Gorda, FL, grandchildren Heather (Dan) Murzyn, Phillip (Melissa) Spicerkuhn and Paula (James) Spicerkuhn, Heidi (Robert) Morgan, George (Anna) Spicer, Andrew (Jennifer) Spicer, Charlie Moss and Glen Moss. There are 15 great-grandchildren, many who had the great joy of knowing him.
Dennis will be remembered as a great father, devoted grandfather and great-grandfather who was dedicated to service in his community. He shared his love of traveling, hunting, fishing, who and hiking. He had many close friends who all cherished his companionship and to whom he dispensed his sage advice with a wonderful sense of humor.
A memorial get together is at Women’s Century Club on July 27, 2019 from 2 to 4 pm.