John Madison Dennis, Jr., 87, of Whitesboro, Texas met his Lord and Savior on May 11, 2023. Once he left the hospital and arrived at the farm, he was surrounded by his children, their spouses, grandchildren, great grandchildren, friends, neighbors, and other folks he loved and influenced along the way.
John was born on the Dennis Family Farm on February 9, 1936. At the time of his birth, John M. Dennis, Sr. and Alpha Omega had three daughters. They were very pleased to welcome home their baby brother.After high school, John went to college and developed a love for learning. He spent time in the U.S. Army and graduated from Texas Tech University. He started his lengthy teaching career working for Odem ISD in south Texas. While there he was set up on a blind date to a Polish wedding that was quite successful. His blind date was Jo Elizabeth Watson, his wife for nearly six decades. After leaving south Texas, John taught for Denison ISD, Blythe ISD (CA), Los Angeles ISD (West Covina, CA), Sadler ISD, and Sherman ISD. John retired after 30 years and started subbing in Durant ISD the very next year. He spent 24 years in Durant and retired again with 54 years of public-school education under his belt.
In addition to his love of teaching, John loved being a student as well. Over his lifetime, he attended 25+ different colleges or universities. He always enjoyed discovering something new or different. Growing up on the family farm in northwest Grayson County, John learned about farming and ranching from his parents. His mother, uncles, and his cousins taught him about music. He could pick up most instruments and start to play them right away. His mother would sing to him as a child, and he sang to his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and numerous students north and south of the Red River as well. Sometimes those songs would be accompanied by a guitar, an accordion, keyboard, or a ukulele.
If John was passionate about something, he jumped in with both feet. Whether it was barbershop music, speaking Spanish, crocheting, fixing lawnmowers, yoga, sewing, building swimming pools, playing the accordion, auto body repair, water aerobics, sign language, or playing the ukulele, John mastered them all. He loved a good challenge. John loved people, too. He never met a stranger. He made friends everywhere he went. He was easy to talk to and he could tell a good story. He loved to count things and he loved palindromes. He wasn’t afraid of technology or unusual facial hair. John liked to journal, and he loved dancing with Jo. He also loved ice cream and a smooth porter.
John’s grandchildren called him Pappy, and they loved visiting him on the farm and swimming in the spa. Pappy loved visiting his children and grandchildren. He was proud of them all.
John was proceeded in his death by his parents, his sisters, Joan and Jean, and the love of his life, Jo.
He is survived by his four children, Whit Dennis of Whitesboro, Texas, Jeffrey & Vicki Dennis of Copperas Cove, Texas, Jason & Sundee Dennis of Spring Branch, Texas, and Johnna Beth Dennis of Wimberley, Texas; ten grandchildren, Kayla Beth Kainer, Chasta Pierce, Jaxom Price, TJ Harris, Jeffrey Harris, Trevor Harris, Travis Dennis, Hayden Dennis, Korbin Dennis, and Larklin Dennis; and six great grandchildren, Cambri Morales, Lyla Beth Kainer, Davis Kainer, Bella Peirce, Brock Pierce, and Bryce Pierce.. He is also survived by his sister, Janice Dennis Smart of Denison, Texas.
John was a member and music leader of Sandy Springs Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Sandusky, Texas. He was a member of the West Grayson County Retired Teachers Association, the water aerobics class at the P.A.R.D., the Whitesboro chorus group, and the yoga studio at Dr. Tuck’s office.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Sandy Springs Cumberland PC – scholarship fund at SSCPC 4803 Pinnacle Place Denison, TX. 75021
Family visitation is on Saturday,May 20, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. at Meador Funeral Home in Whitesboro, Texas. A memorial service will follow at 3:00 p.m. Burial at Allison Cemetery will be at a later date.