Dennis “Denny” James Williams passed away on June 24, 2023, surrounded by family due to complications from cancer. He was born in Vanport, Oregon, on March 27, 1945, and was later adopted by his aunt Patricia J Williams and Arthur Williams.
The family resided in Portland, Oregon, until about 1961 when they moved to Brush Prairie, Washington. He transferred from Benson Polytechnic High School to Battle Ground High School and graduated from BGHS in 1963. Right out of high school, he worked in Madras, Oregon, and then later joined the U.S. Navy. He was aboard the USS Sacramento from 1965 to 1967 as RM2 OPS Division and completed several tours in Vietnam. He specialized in communications while on the USS Sacramento. When he returned stateside he went to work for Pacific Northwest Bell. He married Mary Ann Jagelski in 1970 and welcomed two children to their family Eric (1971) and Pam (1973). He built their first home with the help of family and friends in 1974 next to the rest of the Jagelski family. After the millennium, he retired from the phone company and started his own business in commercial telecommunications networking that he owned for several years.
Throughout the years, Denny had many hobbies and took on countless projects. He was a natural craftsman and built his second house in 1978. This beach house, located in Tokeland, Washington, would become the place where family and friends would gather over long weekends and create memories that would last a lifetime. He was an avid fisherman, loved boating and could restore anything covered in rust. He was a skilled woodworker and was active in radio controlled everything: boats, airplanes and helicopters. He loved supporting and cheering on his kids and grandkids in their activities from soccer to drama. He could fix just about anything and took great pride in his work, but the proudest moments came watching his kids and grandkids find joy.
Denny got remarried to Charlene “Sherry” Miller in 2007. Together, they had several adventures that included float tube fishing trips on the Green River, working as camp hosts, traveling to New York, wintering in Arizona, separate adoptions of three Labrador retrievers, and more fishing and camping trips.
Denny believed in putting his family first, good food, cold beer and making time to help a friend, and he could turn a stranger into a lifelong friend. His approach to any job was to “do it the right way, or not at all,” as quality work was always a top priority. Over the years, he honed his sense of humor into a skill used to build relationships and create a sense of comfort and inclusion for all. He could ease tension in tenuous situations, and on occasion, get himself out of trouble. He leaves a legacy of love, honor and devotion to friends and family.
He is survived by his wife, Sherry Miller; daughter, Pam and Larry Rivero; and grandsons, Braden and Lorenzo, of Chandler, Arizona; son, Eric, of New Albany, Indiana; extended family, Niki Miller and Dilan Silva and grandson Perry; Bryan Miller; brother, Michael and Arlis Henry; sister; Susan and Jim Kupfer; and 13 nieces and nephews.
A celebration of life will be held from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, at Esther Short Building 610 St. Suite 202, Vancouver, Washington, following a graveside service with military honors at Willamette National Cemetery.