Dennis Wilson

Dennis Wilson

Sunday, November 18th, 1945 Saturday, March 21st, 2020

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Obituary for Dennis Wray Wilson

Dennis Wray Wilson, 74, of Lenexa, KS passed away on Saturday, March 21, 2020 at the Advent Health Shawnee Mission in Merriam, KS from the Covid-19 virus. Dennis was born November 18, 1945 in Fort Scott KS to Wray O and Dorothy E (Monroe) Wilson. He grew up on a farm west of Fort Scott and attended a one room country school for all 8 grades and had the same teacher all 8 years, a real rarity even in his day. He graduated from Fort Scott High School in 1963, joined the Army National Guard, and on return attended Fort Scott Community College. He went on to Kansas State College of Pittsburg, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in biology, and began teaching at Bonner Springs High School, Bonner Springs, KS in 1968. Soon after, in 1973, he obtained a master’s degree in biology from the University of Missouri in Kansas City. And then in 1981, he obtained a doctorate degree in school administration from the University of Kansas. Biology teacher turned high school principal turned school superintendent, he lead biology classrooms, high schools, and school districts to impressive accomplishments with great care, gentleness and kindness. He was known for helping teachers to become better in classroom management, not just for the students, but to make the teacher’s job easier. He enjoyed helping to improve science classrooms in all the grade schools as well as the high school. And, when there was a student in foster care who was struggling to get to graduate with her class, he had her come after school every day to the district office where he personally tutored her in areas of need until she was able to catch up. He was also active in the National Staff Development Council and served on the board of the Kansas Staff Development Council.
Dennis taught biology at Bonner Springs High School from 1968-1981. He was high school principal in Valley Falls KS from 1981-1984 and in Ottawa KS in 1984-85. His first superintendency was in LaCrosse KS from 1986-1996, then was superintendent in the Labette County School District from 1996-2008. He then was superintendent in Lamar MO from 2008-2013 retiring completely but returned to Labette County School District to serve as a member of the Board of Education until he moved out of the area in September 2018. He taught biology for Labette Community College from 2013 until 2019, and after moving to Lenexa he continued teaching it online. He also substitute taught in the Olathe School District.
Dennis and Joanna Wind were married on June 27, 1970. To this union two sons and a daughter was born. Dennis was an assistant Scoutmaster until his sons obtained their Eagle rank and served later in district Scout leadership. He also served on the board of Curious Minds Children’s Museum in Parsons KS.
About 25 years ago Dennis took up magic, a dream that he had for many years. He joined the International Brotherhood of Magicians in 1997 and became active in IBM 129 in Kansas City MO and was a dedicated student of the art, attending Ring 129 Workshops, Magifest in Columbus OH, Magic Live in Las Vegas NV and several magic cruises. Dennis performed at many birthday parties, fundraisers and entertained in many classrooms. He donated magic shows for the St Patrick’s Catholic School annual auction and for the Curious Minds Children’s Museum annual auction, both in Parsons KS. His life centered around the best interest of kids. Known by his grandchildren as “Poppy” he enjoyed holding Camp Bubbie and Poppy every year where for 3 days he and Joanna hiked, did nature activities, crafts, cooking and camped out in the back yard. He also loved photography. He and Joanna also played the role of Santa and Mrs. Claus in every community that he worked in.
He was a member of Kiwanis Club of Parsons, serving as Second Vice President, First Vice President and President. He currently belonged to the Johnson County Kiwanis Club. He did magic for the monthly Bringing Up Grades (BUG’s) program in which middle school age children are honored for their grades. He also did magic for the Kiwanis monthly birthday parties for clients at the Parsons State Hospital and Training Center.
He was a member of St Patrick Catholic Church in Parsons and most recently of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Lenexa.
He was preceded in death by his father, Wray O. Wilson, his mother, Dorothy E. Wilson and his step-mother, June Wilson.
In September 2018 he moved to Lenexa KS to be closer to two of his three children and 5 of his 6 grandchildren and looked forward to many years of family enjoyment.
He is survived by his wife of 49 years and looked forward to their upcoming 50th wedding anniversary celebration in June. He is also survived by sons Luke A. Wilson MD and wife, Sarah, of Leawood KS, and Derek E. Wilson MPA PA-C and life partner, Angela Andrew, of Pittsburg KS and daughter Gina M. McCabe and husband, Tim, of Lenexa. He also leaves 6 grandchildren, Lauren O. Wilson, Luke Harris Wilson, Grace M. Wilson, Cecilia M. McCabe (Lia), Henry J. McCabe, and Oliver W. McCabe. A brother, Roger O Wilson and wife, Connie, of Pittsburg KS and a sister, Kathie Cowan and husband, Don, of Benton IL survive.
Because of circumstances beyond our control a small, family funeral Mass will take place. A celebration of Dennis’ life will take place at a later date.

Memorials are suggested to:

USD 506 Foundation Dr. Dennis Wilson Scholarship Fund
PO Box 189
Altamont KS 67330

USD 395 Foundation Dr. Dennis Wilson Scholarship Fund
PO Box 778
LaCrosse KS 67548

USD 338 Foundation Dr. Dennis Wilson Scholarship Fund
700 Oak
Valley Falls KS 66088

USD 204 Foundation Dr. Dennis Wilson Scholarship Fund
2200 S 138th St
Bonner Springs KS 66012

R-1 Lamar Foundation Dr. Dennis Wilson Scholarship Fund
202 W 7 St
Lamar MO 64759

Proud Animal Lovers Shelter (PALS), a no-kill shelter, 501(c)(3) organization, PO Box 48, Parsons KS 67357

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Service Details

  • Interment

    Bonner Springs Cemetery
    Metropolitan and Sheidley
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Memorial Mass Service to follow at a later date.

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Judith Almond

So sorry for your loss. You have been and will continue to be in my prayers.
Comment | Posted at 06:31pm via Condolence

Kim Bartelli

Joanna and family, many prayers to you all as you navigate this new world without Dr. Wilson. He was such a kind and caring educator and will be missed. Please know that he is watching over you all everyday!
Comment | Posted at 11:43am via Condolence

Carlene Whitney

Joanna, Luke, Derek, Gina and families, we are so sorry for your loss. Words cannot express the sadness we feel. Dennis was a great friend and we will miss him. He was very proud of all of you. Our prayers are with you at this very difficult time. Wishing you peace and comfort. And know that we love you all.
Carlene and Morris Whitney
Comment | Posted at 11:01pm via Condolence

Mary Jo Fitzwater

Very nice obituary, he was a good man. I remember when my middle daughter was younger in girl scouts, he did magic at some of our events too.
Comment | Posted at 09:52pm via Condolence

Cindy Dalaba

So sorry for your loss. I will always remember how interesting he made Biology class. I loved the hands on approach of trapping and chloroforming our mice to measure them and the birdwatching party we had on a Saturday.
Comment | Posted at 09:51pm via Condolence

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