My uncle Dennis passed away unexpectedly in July. His obituary:
Dennis Piwonka died at his home in College Station, from cardiac arrest, at the age of 70. A Celebration of Life for Dennis will be held Saturday, July 30, 2022 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm with a time of sharing at 11:00 am at Callaway-Jones Funeral & Cremation Center in Bryan.
Dennis grew up in Caldwell, Texas, living and working on the family farm. He graduated from Caldwell High School in 1970 then attended Texas A&M University earning two technical degrees during the 70’s. Circuits, computers, and electronics were his lifelong career. His professional career took him around the world, having worked for electronics firms in Caldwell, Dallas, Chicago, Taiwan, and College Station. While he enjoyed seeing the world, he ultimately came back to the Brazos Valley, spending the final 35 years working and living among his family, friends, and the comforting surroundings of home.
He is preceded in death by his parents Joe and Elizabeth Piwonka and brother Robert. He is survived by siblings John (wife Georgia, and sons Craig and Kevin), David (wife Janet, and children Beth and Steven), Pat Drouilhet (husband Adrien, and son Jason), sister-in-law Debby (and sons Hal and Philip), Dianne Rister (husband Edward, and children Karl and Krista), Thomas (wife Wendy, and son Hayden), Mark (wife Sue, and sons Robert and Alex), Michael (wife Martha, and children Allie and Mason), and Jan Hartman (husband Sheldon, and children Neil and Leslie).
Dennis lived life his way. He contemplated the big questions of life, or at least the big questions of the day. He focused on his hobbies, electronics, and sports, when not engaged in his ruminations. Forever a tinkerer, he was always looking for a better gizmo, a better mousetrap, animated by newly designed circuitry. His hands were as adept with a soldering iron as a softball bat. He was an artist with both.
Dennis’ quiet and thoughtful demeanor belied his eagerness for conversation. He loved to engage in intellectual discussions, often at length. The conversations were always witty and insightful, probing for the unusual or obscure in politics, religion, relationships, or society. He was a conversationalist.
He was beloved by all, especially his numerous nieces and nephews, who enjoyed spending time with the unmarried uncle, the one who showed them around the farm, or inside a computer, or how to play card games. They loved him because he was gentle, funny, intelligent, and always available. He loved them because they were the kids he never had.
He was a calm soul and helped Mom in her declining years. While they disagreed on many topics, they were always there for each other. Mom held Dennis in high regard, and bestowed such wisdom and righteousness upon him, especially as her memory began to betray her, that his siblings were amazed and confounded, yet reassured by his presence.
Now we are only left with memories. Thankfully we have many memories of Dennis. Many wonderful memories, and a few tears.
In lieu of flowers, Dennis’ family requests that donations be made to DonorsChoose.org, in support of public education, or to a charity of your choosing.
I flew to TX for his service and got to see a lot of family I hadn’t seen in many years. It was a sad occasion but it was nice to see everyone, catch up and chat, and remember Dennis.
Dennis was a lot of fun to be around. He’s the uncle I spent the most time with since he lived with my grandma for a while and when we’d go visit her I’d get to spend days with him. He taught me how to fart properly, which is by lifting one leg up and pumping your fist downward. We spent a lot of time playing rummy dummy with my grandma. He was also into computers, knew how to build and fix stuff, and I learned a lot from him. He was a calm, quiet guy, but funny as hell and would always punctuate someone’s long winded story with a one liner that would just crack everyone up. Last time I saw him was in May of 2019, right before Ramona was born. I’m sad that she’ll never get the opportunity to meet her great uncle Dennis. He was great indeed…