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The Northwoods River News | Rhinelander, Wisconsin

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October 16, 2021

9/24/2021 5:29:00 AM
Dennis A. Leith

Dennis (Denny, aka Butch) A. Leith, age 72, passed away on Sept. 17, 2021 due to complications of Parkinson's disease. A loving son, husband, and father, Denny lived for most of his life in the Minocqua area. He was born in Antigo to Patricia (Gustafson) and Leslie Leith, and he married Virginia (Ginny) Shaker in 1979.

A graduate of Rhinelander High School and Michigan Tech University, Denny worked for most of his career at the DNR, retiring as Forest Superintendent of the Northern Highland - American Legion State Forest. Over his years in forestry and recreation, Denny received many awards, most notably property manager of the year and the lifetime achievement award. His motto at work was to always leave things better than he found them, and, in the vast majority of cases, that's exactly what he did.

Denny was also very active in the community: a charter member of Ascension Lutheran Church, a long-time coach of various youth sports, a school board member, a member of the Ascension Caring Committee, the organizer of a dedicated breakfast group, and a member of the Kiwanis Club. He was known for his ready smile and willingness to help, often going far beyond expectations.

Perhaps his most incredible achievement was the way he dealt with his disease. After an almost 20-year challenge with Parkinson's disease, Denny remained positive and hopeful. His courage and grace while dealing with many health issues were inspirational to many.

Denny loved many activities, including hunting near his beloved cabin, camping, visiting national parks, and almost any outdoor activity. However, he loved nothing more than his family.

His family and friends will dearly miss Denny, including his wife, Ginny, of St. Germain; his children, Jon (Maggie) of Lake Tomahawk, and Andy (Kelly) of Oshkosh; his grandchildren Thomas, Elle, Blake, and Kaylee; his sister, Phyllis (Gary) Stone; his sister-in-law Kathy Leith; and a wide circle of friends, including former colleagues, classmates, hunting companions, support group members, church members, and so many others. Lee Calvey of Minocqua was a close friend during many of Denny's later, most challenging years.

Denny was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Susan; and a brother, Thomas.

The family thanks the staff of Ascension Lutheran Church and Pine Crest for their love and care.

The family also plans to make a donation in Denny's name to the Wisconsin Parkinson Association ( Denny was a co-founder of the area Parkinson's Support Group, which has helped many over the years.

A celebration of life will be held at Ascension Lutheran Church in Minocqua on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021 with visitation from 1 to 3 p.m. and a short service at 3 p.m.

For online condolences, please visit

Nimsgern Funeral & Cremation Services of Woodruff is serving the family.

Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, September 25, 2021
Article comment by: don combs

I'm sorry to hear of Butch's passing. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Butch was a "westside kid" and a friend from boy scouts. Although I had not seen him in fifty years I considered him a friend and have fond memories of our childhood.

Posted: Saturday, September 25, 2021
Article comment by: Craig Strid

It was a pleasure and honor to have Dennis as a fellow classmate in the Class of 1967. My heartfelt prayers and condolences go out to the family.
Craig Strid.

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