Date Honored: April 2012
Denny loved to tell the story of his first day at school. He’d say that his mother asked how his first day was in first grade. He said it was okay, but he didn’t do so well, and he had to go back tomorrow. Then he’d say, “Isn’t that a cute story?”
He also loved to tell the story of the time he was learning to snorkel during a cruise excursion. Everyone was out snorkeling in four feet of water, viewing small sting rays, when Denny grabbed a lady’s leg thinking it was mine. The woman screamed in terror . . . something in Japanese. I’ve never seen Denny so embarrassed.
And there was the time when Denny agreed to go to a line dancing lesson at the Country Club – even though he hated all kinds of dancing, especially line dancing. After a few dances, I glanced back to check on Denny, and he wasn’t there. After checking all over the club, I went home to find him in his chair. Of course, I asked why he didn’t tell me he left. He replied, “Oh, you were having so much fun, I didn’t want to bother.” Good thing we had both brought our cars.
Then there was the time when Denny and I went to view the Palm Springs Follies in California with some friends and neighbors. Denny was waiting in line to enter the men’s room, when an older woman tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Aren’t’ you George Clooney?” When he came back and told the group, we laughed so hard, we were rolling in the aisles. Then he mentioned that the woman who asked had a white cane.
~ Mary Nathan, wife
Dennis Nathan was my father, he was my coach, he was my biggest fan. Dad taught me the value of hard work, of good sportsmanship, and of good citizenship. Dad taught me the value of taking an interest in the people around me, of caring for others, and of having a good sense of humor. Dad worked very hard to give his family the very best. And he taught me these lessons not just in what he said, but in what he did and who he was. I can understand the love and sacrifice of my heavenly Father, thanks to the example and the blessing of my earthly father. I miss you all the time Dad, but I know we’ll see each other again one day.
~ Bradley Nathan, son
Growing up I never knew how much I was learning from my father. As I continue to grow in life, I realize now how much I actually have. While I may not have shared his love for country music; his faith, his work ethic, and his drive to support his family are just a few things that I do share. When I was planning my wedding, I found myself developing a detailed spreadsheet of expenses for the event. Dad was so kind to help make it such a special day, I wanted to impress the banker with my detail to financials. Though I was lost in making the spreadsheet perfect, I realize now, that he didn't care about that; he was already impressed with who I had become and wanted to make me happy on the most amazing day of my life. Right before he walked me down the aisle, I couldn't keep my tears back. He kept saying, "Jul, stop it, stop it or you are going to make me cry." I looked over and saw a tear in his eye. Dad never cried. The only other time I saw him cry was when his mom passed away. That tear on my wedding day said more to me than he probably realized. Dad, I miss you so much...all I can do is shed a tear.
~ Julie Steven, daughter