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Dennis Ray Hands

September 25, 1951January 1, 2020

Dennis took a class of self-exploration and one’s place in the universe in 2007 through his church. The following obituary was written by him to fulfill an assignment for that class. The end was updated to cover his life since that time.

What a charmed life this lucky guy led. He married the right woman, had the wonderful career, played and hung-out with great friends, and enjoyed some fun hobbies.

Dennis Ray Hands, 68, of Greensboro, died Wednesday evening, January 1, 2020, while dining with friends. A celebration of his life will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greensboro with the Rev. Sadie Lansdale officiating at a date yet to be determined.

Dennis enjoyed sharing the wonder of astronomy with others. He helped build the Cline Observatory at Guilford Tech and there on Friday nights or in Center City Park during the first quarter Moon, he had fun showing people the sky. Dennis was heard to say that he could never look at Saturn for the first time, again. But he could be present when someone else did, and smiled when young and old said “Ooo…” while looking through the telescope.

He was a pretty good motorcyclist, too. When someone asked, “How many accidents have you had?” Dennis would often reply that the answer would depend on the definition of the word “accident.” Dennis and his wife Barbara have been long-time members of the local Gold Wing chapter and spent many days crisscrossing the country on his bike.

In his later years, Dennis organized a church softball team and played with friends and colleagues in the Greensboro Parks and Recreation leagues. He once even tried to recruit Trudy, an octogenarian member of this church! That provided many laughs. Dennis never hit a homerun, but was pretty good at getting on base, despite his ungainly gait.

His church community was the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greensboro. Dennis served as usher, covenant group facilitator, worked on several committees, and was the President of the congregation for three years. Why those kind folks kept re-electing him is another of the great mysteries of his rich and full life.

Dennis taught social studies at Jackson Junior High for ten years then social studies and astronomy at Grimsley High School for twenty years. He had such marvelous students that he was brave (crazy?) enough to take groups on an annual field trip to New York City. The only casualty there was once losing (and later finding) a student at the top of the Empire State Building. Dennis always was grateful to his students for allowing him to be the “lead student” in their intellectual development.

Dennis enjoyed a good battle, so he was an active member of the American Federation of Teachers, the teachers’ real union. Many friendships were forged while Dennis fought to improve the working conditions of students and teachers.

After retiring from Grimsley, his wife Barbara claimed that he was a “distraction” around the house, so she insisted that he find some part-time employment. He worked as a Science Instructor at the Greensboro Natural Science Center from 2004 until 2009 sharing animals, weather lessons, and all kinds of information with the elementary school field trips that would come through

Dennis met Barbara at Appalachian State University in 1971, in an Astronomy class of all places. After a whirlwind romance and courtship, they were married less than a year later. while still students.

They enjoyed watching movies, going to baseball games, traveling and discussing ethics and morality. She’s an “absolutist,” while he was a “cultural relativist.” Enough said?

He was one lucky guy.

In 2008 Dennis began teaching Astronomy at High Point University, The following is their tribute to him.

On January 1, 2020, our department lost our friend, colleague, valued astronomy professor, and chief comet maker, Mr. Dennis Hands. We will remember his passion for learning, his passion for teaching, and his passion for making Earth a better place for all of us. He was incredibly kind and gentle and was also a constant force for good in the world. May we all similarly dedicate ourselves to a life of service. Dennis Hands started teaching astronomy at High Point University in 2008. He invited speakers and organized a series of seminars in astronomy in Spring 2009, Fall 2009, and Spring 2010 which he called "HPUniverse Day." Of course, eventually that turned into an even larger event in Fall 2014, and he became our annual comet chef. In 2015, Dennis received the outstanding teacher award from the freshman class at High Point University. It is exceedingly rare for an adjunct professor to receive such an award and is evidence of how exceptional Dennis was.

We are made of stardust. In Dennis' case, it seems that it was all gold. We will both miss and celebrate our friend, teacher, and comet chef, Dennis Hands.

Dennis is survived by his wife of 48 years, Barbara, his mother Kathryn, his siblings Diane, Steve, and David, and their spouses, along with several nieces, nephews, and grand nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (https://www.michaeljfox.org/).


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Dennis Ray Hands

have a memory or condolence to add?

John McRae

January 16, 2020

My supportive and knowledgeable friend Mr. Dennis Hands, I will always remember you when I am looking at the moon, and your favourite planet next to earth, Saturn. Your memory is like Saturn, larger than life and very bright!!! My sincere condolences to family and friends of this "good guy" . Sadly missed. "scope" for you soon mate. Lets look at Clavius shall we? RIP Dennis. Here is a picture I took of glorious Saturn Dennis.
@vk5po on periscope
John McRae, LEWISTON in South Australia

Dan Robertson

January 14, 2020

The stars are both dimmer and brighter now........thank you my friend....”Columbia”

Judy Arteaga

January 14, 2020

Although I never met Dennis in person he made me feel as we were long time friends... His periscope broadcasts were something out of this world. His energy, his love for the universe would always blow my mind. He made me want to learn more about Astronomy and that's big! I didn't know how fascinating all this was until I met him and for that I will always be grateful. He was such a beautiful soul. We have a new star in our sky guys he will always be with us! My condolences to all his family and friends. You will forever be missed ♡

Michael Williams

January 13, 2020

I found Professor Hands on Periscope. His love and passion for astronomy, the stars, and educating was very uplifting. I joined wherever I could live, and always watched the the replays. He reignited my love of the looking up to the sky and discovering the possibilities. To touch someone, someone unknown and unseen and to be so caring and loving to everyone. Mrs Hands, thank you for sharing Dennis with us. He will be missed always.

Lyndsey Paul

January 13, 2020


The last time you visited my broadcast I was playing music and chatting. We made jokes and you told me I inspired you and that you would name a Star after me.

I was so touched at that moment 🌹 I came to tears 😭

I am glad I was able to tell you just how wonderful of a human ‘bean’ and amazing consciousness you were.

We both shared a love and wonder if the universe, the stars, the quantum, energy. I found deep comfort in finding another kindred soul with such fervor to shift the consciousness of mankind, and with such a brilliant soul.

May we be star crossed bffls for life. 🙏🏻 Maybe now the Cardinals will finally win ❤️🌹

Barbara ,
Thank you for sharing this wonderful man with us. I am holding you and your family in my heart and prayers. May all whom see his work be blessed by his magnanimous presence.
Also, what a wonderfully written obituary.
Warmest regards,

Lyndsey Paul
Psychic Medium

Ben Spiers

January 13, 2020

Dennis’ charm always made those of us he broadcast to on the Periscope app feel like he knew us, remembering our names and making us welcome. And those who watched regularly felt a special connection to him.
Dennis taught us many wondrous things about astronomy and made the topic come to life. We very much enjoyed the quizzes he’d give us, and he rewarded us by matching our donations to his favorite charities. This exemplified his caring thoughts for others.
Dennis was a very special, well known and well regarded member of the Periscope community, and everyone who knew him loved and admired him.
Thank you, Dennis. Thank you for your light, for believing in people, and for giving us knowledge and treasured memories.

Jonathan Clark

January 13, 2020

I've Followed Dennis on Periscope since he first started broadcasting and I always enjoyed his Let's Talk Astronomy . I'm quite speechless after hearing he passed away ,He will be missed by many of his Fans and Many others . I'll be thinking of Him now when I look up at the Stars. My Condolences to his Wife Family and Friends. God Bless🙏🌌

Tom Parker

January 12, 2020

Dennis and I taught at High Point University. Dennis is a wonderful example of someone who is always enjoying the moment.

Mike Czysz

January 12, 2020

I met Dennis many years ago through the remarkable GTCC/Cline Astronomy events. Over the decades he became my friend. I looked forward to seeing him at the gatherings, sharing a few meals here and there, and chatting about all sorts of topics. He was a wonderful human being who I will miss dearly.

Betsy Lindsey

January 11, 2020

I knew Dennis for many years and, along with my daughter, played on that church softball team he founded. We won very few games but had terrific fun, with Dennis being a large part of that. I served on the UUCG Board of Trustees with Dennis and came to know his thoughtful, reflective side, which was a gift to the board and the congregation. I will miss Dennis very much, but I'm consoled somewhat to know that he was among friends and having a wonderful evening when he passed. May we all be as lucky to have found our life's' passions (several of them) and a loving community when our time comes.