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Dennis Arsenault

September 1, 1942 ~ December 15, 2017

Service: December 27, 2017 10:00 AM
   Location: Hope Lutheran Church

Dennis Arsenault was born September 1, 1942, in Westbrook, Maine, and peacefully departed this world in Scottsdale, Arizona, on December 15, 2017, where he spent his final year valiantly battling pulmonary fibrosis.

Respected and loved by his family and friends, Dennis was known for his infectious humor, his fondness for long books and current events, his ability to fix anything, his passion for travel, and his deep love and commitment to his family.

Born of humble beginnings, Dennis worked from a young age before joining the Army at age 17. While serving, he fostered his love of travel, as he was stationed around the world in Beirut, Germany, Korea, and Vietnam.  He took advantage of every R&R to ski everywhere he could, including in his beloved Montana.  In the Army, Dennis attended jump school and became a paratrooper, bravely serving for four tours in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division. Before his last tour in 1971, he stopped over in Germany where he met his soulmate, Shirley Joos. They were married in May 1972 and made their first home in Frankfurt, Germany, welcoming their first daughter while living there.

After moving back to the states, two more daughters were born, and Dennis retired from the military at the age of 37 and completed his education.  He moved his family to Montana and began a career as a teacher, combining his life’s passion with his dream of living in the mountains. It was there where Dennis and Shirley lived and raised their family, spending many weekends on the ski hill, hiking, and with friends. Dennis taught math at Bozeman High School for over 20 years. During the summers, the family would move to Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, where Dennis was an integral part of the operation in facilities maintenance.  Dennis was honored to welcome three sons-in-law to his family, and he considered them his sons.  His three grandchildren were the light of his life and he had a special connection with each.

In retirement, Dennis and Shirley explored the world, hopping military flights to Asia and Europe. Despite a terminal diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis in 2014, Dennis continued to live well, traveling the country by car and eventually settling with Shirley in Scottsdale where they enjoyed walking and exploring, even as his need for oxygen made it difficult. He continued to defy the odds and live a life of purpose and honor until his final days.

Dennis was preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Leona Arsenault, and brothers, Martin and Gary.  He is survived by his wife, Shirley; daughters, Nicole (Michael) Abby (15) and Oliver (11); Simone (Jeremy) Evalin (8); and Janine (Matt); two brothers, Richard and David.

A memorial service will be held at Hope Lutheran Church at 10:00 AM on Wednesday, December 27th, officiated by Pastor Jon Bjorgaard. Internment of ashes will be at Arlington National Cemetery in the spring.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made in Dennis’ name to the Worthy Student Scholarship Fund through the Bozeman Schools Foundation, P.O. Box 1803, Bozeman, MT 59771 or the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, 230 E. Ohio St., Ste. 500, Chicago, IL 60611. 

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