Dennis L. Scheller
Dennis L. Scheller, May 7, 1938 – Dec. 10, 2019, of New Hudson, MI, loving husband, father, brother, grandfather and friend, entered eternal life late Tuesday evening, Dec. 10, at Ascension Providence Hospital, Novi, MI. He was 81.
Denny grew up in Livonia, MI, with his parents, Larry and Evelyn, and brother, Jimmy. He attended St. Paul Lutheran School until the 8th grade when he discovered a passion – singing in the choir. He further developed his beautiful tenor voice at Lutheran High School in Detroit, where he acquired a reputation as a very witty fellow and a bit of a prankster. While coffee hour was brewing one Sunday, Denny and his friends jacked up the pastor’s car onto concrete blocks and removed the tires! (All right, he was QUITE a prankster!) The pastor was a big fan of Denny’s sweetness and thought it was hilarious!
During summer breaks, Denny worked on his grandfather’s truck farm in Tomahawk, where the Scheller family settled from Germany. The long, hard, yet gratifying days on the farm reinforced the work ethic Denny’s parent had instilled in him and he then passed forward to his children. He had a lot of fun with his cousins and learned some farmers’ wisdom, such as how you know it’s going to rain when you see the undersides of the leaves on trees.
When Denny was 15, he and his brother, Jimmy, had a friend, Jerry Grusendorf, they had all sorts of fun with around their neighborhood. Jerry had a 13 year old sister, Pat. Denny started hanging around Jerry a LOT MORE often when he met sweet Pat! Now, the story goes, as Denny told it, that the girls all lined up at his door, and Pat was always the first in line, so he HAD to choose her, but… no witnesses to this “line” can be found.
Denny and Pat married on Sept. 5, 1959 and recently celebrated 60 years of happy marriage. While Denny followed in his father’s footsteps as a stonemason, Pat started on her path to become an executive secretary. They were involved in their church choir and taught Sunday school at St. Paul. Their love of children was evident when they became parents to Paul, Christina, Michael and Matthew. Pat and Denny considered this time, having a house full of children, with friends over often — their happiest.
In 1975, Denny and Pat received the national Lutheran Parents of the Year Award for their efforts and character, nominated by teachers, the principal and pastors. Pat was the first woman to hold the office of PTL president of the children’s school, Hosanna-Tabor Lutheran and Denny was so proud! He supported her in her flourishing career and artistic endeavors. Denny was on the Board of Education at the kids’ school and an active volunteer. Both sang in the choir, of course.
Unlike many dads of his generation, Denny spent a lot of time with his young children, enjoying every moment. He played outside, teased and tickled them, played board games, and on Saturday mornings he got up and watched cartoons with them. They all sat in their pajamas laughing at Bugs Bunny, Road Runner and, if they were lucky, Foghorn Leghorn. That would get Denny started on his stellar impression of the bombastic cartoon rooster, getting all the kids to explode in laughter. One of Denny’s often repeated sayings was, “You gotta have fun!” Those around him surely did.
When Pat started working again, as the children grew older, Denny helped more around the house, also unlike a lot of men then. This lead to Patty’s often repeated saying, “Give me a man with dishpan hands!” Pat and Denny attended every event the children participated in. One parent at least was at every sporting event, play, music festival, science fair, showing their support. This later extended to the grandchildren.
Denny and Pat loved to spend time with their growing brood of grandchildren, taking them to plays, movies and the park. He loved watching the Detroit sport teams, the Lions, Tigers and Red Wings, as well as U of M football and basketball. It wasn’t unusual to see a floor full of sleeping bags with wall to wall giggling children NOT sleeping at a sleepover. He loved to tease and joke with all the kids and grandkids with his sharp wit and humor. Thanks, Grandpa!
Throughout his life, the one constant for Denny has been his love of God and abiding faith. His expression of faith was well demonstrated by the life he lead, his kind interaction with people he encountered and his participation in church choirs, using his voice to praise his God. Denny was known for his curiosity about all things and particularly mystical Biblical issues. As a student of Bible studies he had many learned pastors scratching their heads with his questions, saying they would have to do some research and get back to him!
And then there is Pat. Patty Cake. Sweetie. Some would say he worshiped the ground she walked on. They would be right. Pat is a very special woman, wife, matriarch of Denny’s family. Denny and Pat were great parents and they were great as a couple. They had a lot of fun together, as Pat is quite the prankster, herself! Don’t ask her about what she does with cling wrap in the bathroom on April Fool’s Day!
Pat is a caretaker and lately that has worked out well for Denny. He has had a difficult year with his health, really struggling. Pat has been there, never leaving his side, making sure he was taken care of, making him smile, holding his hand, a little kiss, a sideways smirk, finger pointed, “Scheller!” She could always make him laugh.
The two had a beautiful marriage and genuine love. They liked each other. They renewed their marriage vows in a church ceremony for their 50th wedding anniversary with all their family in attendance. Pat was Denny’s great love, his rock, his sweetheart. She was his reason for getting out of bed in his last difficult days – on all of his days. And when he couldn’t get out of bed, it was enough for him to gaze at his sweet, beloved Pat. We know he carries her image in his heart as he enjoys the glories of heaven with our risen Savior.
Surviving are his wife, Pat; devoted children, Paul (Renee), Christina (David) Lukas, Michael (fiancée Maureen Filice) and Matthew (Jennifer); dear brother, James; grandchildren, Lauren (John) DeBlasio, Blake (Heather) Scheller, Scott Lukas, Beau (Jillian) Lukas Rodriguez, Hunter (Katie) Lukas, Hayden (Rebekah) Lukas, Riley Lukas, Jesse (fiancée Jennifer Wilkie) Scheller, Evan (Bethany) Scheller, Paige (fiancé Zachary Huff), Dorian Wroblewski, Olivia Scheller, Bryce Wroblewski, Mallory Wroblewski, Chloe Wroblewski and Dylan Scheller; 13 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandson.
The Scheller family received guests at the Heeney-Sundquist Funeral Home, Farmington, MI (248-474-5200), on Friday, Dec. 13. Dennis’ funeral ceremony was held Saturday morning, Dec. 14, at New Hudson United Methodist Church, New Hudson, MI. Interment took place at Glen Eden Memorial Park, Livonia, MI.
Those who wish to further honor Dennis’ memory are invited to consider a contribution to his church, New Hudson United Methodist Church.