Dennis Merrill MacDonald, 69, passed away on October 27, 2019, surrounded by his loving family. His body was worn out from his long, hard fought battle against Rheumatoid Arthritis, heart disease, and finally lung cancer. He was born March 10, 1950 to Merrill “Toby” Robertson MacDonald and Edyth Church MacDonald in Kanab, Utah. He married his elementary school sweetheart, Pam Lewis on September 5, 1969, in Fredonia, Arizona. They were later sealed for eternity in the St. George LDS Temple.
Dennis grew up on the ranch at the Alton junction, and learned good work ethics from his Dad at an early age. It was very difficult for him, his parents, and his teachers when he had to stay in Kanab for school. At age 13 he started working at the service station in Kanab for Dick Hamblin, then later at Mel and Garth Glazier’s Chevron. He was a lineman for Garkane Power before being drafted into the Army at age 19. Because of his experience with Garkane, he was able to serve in the Canal Zone jungles of Panama training 2nd Lieutenants on their way to Vietnam.
Soon after returning from Panama, he and Pam welcomed their first child, Rory, bought their first home together, and settled in Kanab. He helped Roy and Jean Hollis run Cave Lakes Ranch, worked on the road crew at Kaibab Saw Mill, contracted for the overhauls at the Power Plant in Page, and learned valuable skills from Marv Button in the truck shop at Energy Fuels. Four years after Rory was born, he and Pam welcomed their second child, Monica, and later had the privilege of Chelsea joining the family.
Being self-employed was always a goal and together, he and Pam made that happen. He and his family spent many hours in the semi with the bull wagon, hauling cows throughout Southern Utah and the Arizona Strip, running their excavating business, concrete batch plant, trucking company, and transporting the kitchen for Houston’s Catering all over the western states. They eventually settled in close to home producing red landscape rock in a quarry near Alton. There was nothing Dennis couldn’t do, and of everything he did, the partnership with his Dad in MacDonald Ranch was his all time favorite.
There was never a dull moment when he was around. He was always teasing and his mischievous smile made everyone feel welcome. If he wasn’t working he could be found with family and friends on the houseboat at Lake Powell, enjoying the scenery of Southern Utah on a Snowmobile or ATV, traveling with the fifth wheel, finding treasures in someone else’s yard, raising his hand at every auction he could find, or in the shop tinkering on trucks and equipment. He was a gentleman and a caretaker to many. We could all depend on him for anything big or small, even if it was pulling a horse trailer (redneck moving van) through Los Angeles to Southern California for his sister, Cheryl.
He achieved his lifelong dream when an Amish family from Indiana came to Kanab with a team of Haflinger horses. He bought them on the spot, and that was the beginning of a whole new adventure for Dennis and his family! The past decade has been spent in the wagon, meeting incredible friends who quickly became family, and living life “the way it was”. It made him so happy, and his family is blessed he left behind that legacy.
His parents and his sister, Merilyn Riggs, preceded him in death. He is greatly missed by his sweetheart Pam, his children; Rory (Lynette) MacDonald, Monica (Justin) Wren, and Chelsea (Tim) Kiesel, grandkids; Madison Blake, Mason MacDonald, Stetson Davis, Lynden MacDonald, Emery MacDonald, Chloe Kiesel, Abigail Kiesel, Toby Wren, Kelton MacDonald, Kynlee Wren, and Sophia Kiesel, sister Cheryl (Steve) Hulet, and Aunt Sherran Bunting.
Visitation will be Friday, November 1, 2019 from 6:00–7:30 pm and Saturday, November 2, 2019 from 10:30–11:30 am, with the funeral service at 12:00 pm, Kanab North Stake Center, 20 West Center Street, Kanab, Utah.
Interment will be at the Kanab City Cemetery.
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