Losing a friend is much like losing a family member. Most of my grief is for me and for others who will miss his companionship, thoughtful counsel, and friendly presence. Denny was chair of the church steering committee when I was hired as office administrator in 1998. He and Trudi made sure my husband and I got to meet people who would become our friends there.

He had a beautiful yard and garden with vegetables and flowers. A member of a camera club, he developed his own pictures,and had an interesting eye for just the right photographs. He was a reader, and he enjoyed discussions of books and ideas. I knew he’d come from a small town as I had, and we shared tales of growing up in a safe rural environment where people knew everyone and everyone’s business.

His unassuming nature and sense of fairness made him a much-appreciated teacher and role model for his students, daughters, and grandchildren. We had teaching in common with him, and we shared those stories as well.

When his cancer returned, it had invaded areas not touched the first time. He ignored it in order to care for his wife who died of a rare condition last fall. Through these last months he remained positive and determined to do what was necessary. His death came unexpectedly soon, though he may have sensed its coming.

Because we could always count on his help, his wisdom, and his sense of humor, we who cared about this special friend are feeling a profound sense of loss this week.