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Dennis Makey

Dec. 20, 1944-March 4, 2009

Former Detroit Lakes resident Dennis E. Makey, 64, of Grand Island, Neb., died Wednesday, March 4, 2009 at Grand Island Veteran's Home, Grand Island.

Dennis was born to George and Mildred (Solmon) Makey on Dec. 20, 1944 in Duluth, Minn., where he was also baptized. After World War II, the family moved back to Detroit Lakes, where Dennis attended grade school at Washington Elementary. He was confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes.

Dennis graduated from high school in 1962. He graduated in June of 1965 from the Thief River Area Vocational School in Thief River Falls, where he studied auto body mechanics. As Dennis's number in the draft drew near, he volunteered for the United States Air Force in May 1966. After boot camp, he went to Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois, where he studied hydraulics and pneumatics on fighter aircraft. Dennis was stationed at Grand Forks Air Force Base, where he repaired NORAD fighter interceptors. Just before he was transferred for a tour of duty in Japan, Dennis sustained an injury to his left knee and ankle that terminated the transfer to Japan. This injury plagued him for the rest of his life.

Dennis loved music, especially gospel, and he also loved good banjo picking. He played the guitar and string bass. Dennis played in a small group that would sing and play for fun and enjoyment for nursing homes and small private functions. He was a good automobile mechanic, but really loved building useful mechanical tools from junk parts. That was his hobby. While living in Oklahoma, Dennis would tour with his wife and also with his five toed tiger cat, "Clifton," in the rumble seat.

In April of 2003, Dennis became a member of the Grand Island Veteran's Home due to dementia problems. Dennis immediately adopted the other members and staff at the home as his family.

Dennis was a happy and caring person who always helped both staff and other members in need. This was his nature. During his stay at the home, he performed church service duties on a regular basis for the chaplain. These duties were important to Dennis.

Dennis is survived by his brother, Dale (Marion) Makey of Frazee, and their daughter, Pamela, of Rosemount, Minn.; his daughter, Eunice of East Grand Forks; three grandsons; one aunt, Irene Nelson of St. Paul, who is George's sister; one uncle, Floyd Solmon of Detroit Lakes, who is Mildred's brother; as well as numerous cousins on both sides of the family.

Funeral services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 11, at West-Kjos Funeral Home, Detroit Lakes, with the Rev. William Aufdencamp officiating. There will be visitation for one hour prior to the start of services.

Interment will be in Oak Grove Cemetery, Detroit Lakes. West-Kjos Funeral Home in Detroit Lakes has been entrusted with the arrangements. Those wanting to share memories and condolences are invited to use the funeral home's online messages of sympathy section at