Dennis O. Zemke,73, (also known as “GRIZZ”), of Fort Dodge, IA died Friday, April 15, 2022, at the Clarion Wellness and Rehabilitation Center with family by his side. A celebration of life gathering will be held from 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at Deercreek Apartments, 700 S. 17th Street. All who wish to come may do so. Inurnment will take place at North Lawn Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to the family.
Dennis was born August 6, 1948, in Fort Dodge, the son of Albert F. and Darleen J. (Morris) Zemke. He graduated from Fort Dodge Senior High and continued his education with an apprenticeship with the Plumbers & Steamfitters Local #33 out of Des Moines.
In 1969, Dennis was united in marriage to Sheri L. O’Connor and in 1974 they were blessed with a daughter, Joann. They lived in Des Moines until Sheri’s untimely death in 1984. Dennis and Joann moved to Fort Dodge to be closer to family.
While helping his sister with a Cub Scout group, he met his current wife of 34 years, Ruth I. (Whitehill). He also opened his heart to Ruth’s children from a previous marriage. In 1990, they were blessed again with another daughter, Samantha.
Dennis had many jobs over his lifetime. He retired in 1999 after many years from Midstate Plumbing & Heating in Fort Dodge.
He enjoyed time with his family, watching Westerns on T.V. and reading many books. Dennis could talk for hours about the books he had read over the years. He was a member for many years with the Plumbers & Steamfitters Local #33, First Baptist Church, Campfire, and Cub Scouts.
Dennis is survived by his wife, Ruth and their 5 blessed children: Walter Garrett III. of Pocahontas, Ia, Angela (Scott) Smith of Mesa, AZ, Joann (Terry) Zemke Chrzan of Fort Dodge, Lisa (Dan) Mills of Emmetsburg, Ia, & Samantha Zemke of Fort Dodge; 10 grandchildren: Amber Garrett, Doris (Evan) Wadhams of Brooklyn, Ia, Mikey Paterson (fiancé Ashley) of Fort Dodge, Elizabeth Paterson of Cedar Rapids, Ia, Matthew (Alyana Haines) Chrzan, Brett Chrzan, Hunter (girlfriend Kierstan) Chrzan, Gerald and Azilien Yeager-Zemke all of Fort Dodge, and Courtney Kilpatrick of Rockwell City, Ia; 5 great-grandchildren: Abigail, Isabella, Octavia Wadhams, Graylen Ludwig & Grenix Kilpatrick. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, in-laws, & many folks who we consider to be family.
Dennis was preceded in death by his first wife Sheri, his sister Starla K. Hamlow, his parents Albert & Darleen, and a son Gerald Kilpatrick.