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Obituary: Dennis Wayne Sundholm

by jmaloni
Fri, Feb 9th 2018 08:55 pm
1932-2018
A wonderful man crossed the finish line of life on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018. We are sure he chose this date because Ivy needed a dance partner on her birthday!
Dennis Wayne Sundholm is predeceased by his wife, Ivah Sundholm, and his parents Hilding G. and Helen Neumann Sundholm. He is survived by his three sons, Martin (Rhonda), of Nassau Bay, Texas; Michael, of Truckee, California; and Matthew (Pam), of Panama City, Florida. He will be missed greatly by his grandchildren Dennis, Daniel (KaCie), Matthew, Marcus, Michaela and Danica; as well as his great-grandchildren Nicholas, Kadyn and Benjamin Sundholm.
Dennis was born in Ludington, Michigan, on May 27, 1932, graduating from St. Simon High School in 1950. He received his Bachelor of Science from Central Michigan University in 1954, enjoying his membership in Tau Kappa Epsilon. He obtained his Master of Arts from Michigan State University in 1963.
Dennis was a teacher from 1954 to 1990, teaching in Flint, Michigan, Los Angeles; Custer, Scottville and Sandusky, Michigan; and finishing in Grand Island.
Dennis should have been born a Pisces, as he was an "on the water" type of guy. From Ludington (on Lake Michigan) to Los Angeles (on the Pacific Ocean) to Sandusky (15 miles inland from Lake Huron) to Grand Island (an island in the Niagara River) to Panama City, Florida, (on the Gulf of Mexico), Dennis simply enjoyed being on a boat. He even worked summers on the Chesapeake and Ohio Lake Michigan ferry in the 1950s.
Moving to Grand Island in 1967 to teach in the then being constructed middle school, he joined the Sandy Beach Yacht Club in 1969. Racing sailboats on Sunday afternoons quickly became the family passion. Sail changes, rounding marks, hitting the starting line exactly on time were practiced regularly. These practices, as well as Dennis reading "how-to-go-faster" books, resulted in winning races, the highlights being the 1970 Bridge to Bridge and the 1973 Round the Island races. There were many regattas participated in and a whole host of friends made along the way. Sailing trips to Lakes Erie and Ontario were taken as well.
As much as he enjoyed sailing and tinkering on the "Boys 'n Ivy," gardening was probably the hobby that he enjoyed the most. As a science teacher ("Good morning, Mr. Sundholm, sir!") he looked for the differences in cultivars, with tomatoes and sweet corn being his primary crops. Copious notes were taken annually regarding yield, family preference, rainfall, etc.
Following his retirement in 1990, Denny and Ivy moved to Panama City. After sailing the beautiful waters of the gulf for a while, they exchanged the sailboat for a "land yacht." This led to many, many trips across the U.S. Most of the time, the RV headed west to Lake Tahoe to visit their granddaughters, but frequent trips to Michigan and Western New York were enjoyed too.
Dennis' oldest grandson, Dennis Coy Sundholm, proclaims that, "Grandpa is the smartest man I've ever known." Dad lived life to its fullest and is probably showing St. Peter the proper way to mix a bourbon Manhattan and how to clean smoked chubs.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to Dick and Sharon McCleary for all of their love, support and friendship. Dickie (as Dennis called him) and Dennis enjoyed a 50-year friendship.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Covenant Care or the Bay County Council on Aging, both in Panama City, or a charity of your choosing.
To extend condolences, visit www.heritagefhllc.com.

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