It is not the length of the life but the depth.
The souls of many have lost a true and loving friend. Dennis Errol Hawley escaped this mortal existence on April 5, 2021 to join his sweetheart Jill, after nearly 10 long years apart, in their heavenly home. Their eyes are opened to happiness, their minds made clear to joy and their hearts and hands knit together for eternity.
Dennis was born 14 June 1940 to Ralph Leverne Hawley and Gaemona Bell Stebbins Hawley in San Bernardino, California. He had one sister, Diana Mae Hawley, who passed away at the age of 3, two years before he was born.
To say Dennis had a happy childhood would be a lie. Dennis was special. So special that no one was quite able to understand and instead tried to hide him away. But his light never dimmed. In fact, his countenance burned brighter and brighter as he grew. Through every trial and tribulation Dennis continued to shine.
Dennis was an autistic savant (think Rain Man) and had a perfect recall of names, numbers, music, scriptures, license plates, vacuum tubes, trains, fire trucks and old cars. He could speak for hours on the merits of vacuum tubes, why they were discontinued, how to fix them and what their common model numbers were. He taught himself how to speak Spanish and had an incredible love for Spanish music including his favorites; Lola Beltran and Los Dos Reales.
Being a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints was of utmost importance to Dennis. He took every vow, every ordinance, every word of the prophets and every scripture and applied the weight of sacredness in it to his life. To hear Dennis say a prayer was one of the most sacred experiences one could have. Temple work was the focus of his life. He has blessed tens of thousands of people through his labors and we are sure there are so many more that we don’t know of.
Deseret Industries was blessed to have had Dennis as probably one of their longest tenured employee as he worked there from June of 1968 until the date of his death. That is almost 53 years! Covid took away his ability to attend work since last year but his prayers always included his desire to return to work. The staff there made him feel seen, loved and valued, as any person should feel.
Dennis married Jill Dawn Killitz Coleman on May 25, 1996. She preceded him in death on July 4, 2011. She was the absolute love and light of Dennis’s life and the 15 years they were together were the happiest days he ever had! The ten years since her passing was so hard on him and he spoke of her every day and did everything in his power to be able to be worthy to be reunited with her again. Jill’s children are Karen Smith and her sons Kyler and Kanyen Smith; Jennifer Free (John) and children Audrey, Savannah and Zachary Free; and Nate Coleman (Karen Cruz) and children Boston and Kora Coleman.
The years since his sweetheart had passed brought him in to the hearts and arms of many who cared for him. Dennis was so thankful for the staff at Covington Village in Orem who provided a safe, comfortable home, delicious food and staff who went above and beyond to meet his needs. He loved the caregivers from Tender Care Home Health and Hospice that made sure he was comfortable, knowledgeable of his terminal cancer process, and mostly for their friendship and understanding of him as a person. The arms of his many friends at the Orem Senior Friendship Center will feel empty without him but his smile and enthusiasm will never be erased from their hearts and minds.
Dennis wanted to thank his special doctors, the beloved Dr. Tawnya Bowles and her nurse Kelly, Dr. Rich, Dr. Rasmussen and so many others that have provided care of him through the years.
Dennis leaves behind Lee and Mina Reber, whom he refers to as Dear Old Mom and Dad, and their sweet family that made Dennis feel wanted and loved so many years ago, Michelle Moore, a dear friend of Jill’s in the beginning but who has continued to love and look after Dennis and Kirk and Gena Bertelsen who have loved him as if he were their own.
We weep only for the want of one more day with Dennis.
Funeral Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 10, 2021 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Chapel on 920 South Freedom Blvd (200 West), Provo, Utah. A viewing for family and friends will be held from 9:30-10:30 a.m. prior to the services at the church. Burial will be in the Provo City Cemetery. Condolences may be expressed to the family on this page.
For those unable to attend the services will be stream via Facebook live at 11:00 a.m. by clicking the following link: http://www.facebook.com/sundbergolpinfuneralhome