Dennis William Barbini
January 22, 1939 – March 28, 2018
Dennis Barbini, age 79, died on Wednesday, March 28, 2018, in Houston, Texas. He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Frances Barbini; daughters Jennifer, husband, John Guderyahn and Meg, husband, James Barton, JoLynn Miller Knighton; son Matt Miller and partner,Javier Cortez. He was the proud “Nonno” of granddaughter Ashley Knighton and five grandsons: Tyler and Corey Guderyahn; Austin and Carter Barbini; and Zachary Knighton. He was preceded in death by his son Matthew Dennis Barbini (2001), and his parents Bill Ilio and Mary Barbini.
Born in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on January 22, 1939, Dennis was raised as an only child by his closely-knit family of doting aunts, cousins, grandparents and great grandparents, who had immigrated from Italy and Hungary. He graduated from Lebanon Catholic High School, Lebanon, PA, in 1956, Hershey Jr. College (compliments of Milton Hershey) in 1958, and Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA, in 1960. After college, he served in the US Army from 1961-1963, including 90 days as a human guinea pig in the Army’s medical experiments with LSD and nerve gases. Ironically, he also tested Arctic outerwear for the Army during those experiments. Despite the many health challenges he later endured, Dennis was grateful to have been stationed in Maryland, staying close to his family.
Dennis worked steadily in the insurance industry for 41 years - selling New York Life, underwriting at State Farm and marketing Germania in Brenham, TX. Before smartphones and Yelp, the consummate insurance man frequented many small town restaurants and diners across the miles of Texas. If you named any small town, Dennis could always recommend the best place to eat there!
Dennis loved fishing, hunting, studying history, cooking (or watching cooking channels) and traveling. In his early married life, he spent most vacations returning to Pennsylvania to visit family. He later covered most of the US, often pulling an RV. Dennis and Frances traveled many times with friends to Mazatlan, Mexico, where he especially enjoyed the beaches. Of the many trips taken, his favorite and most memorable was an impromptu New Years’ Eve trip to Italy!
A raconteur extraordinaire, Dennis lived large. He never met a stranger and never forgot a name. He instantly connected with every person he met and easily dropped into conversations just like old friends. He always had a story to tell . . . about anything, anywhere or anytime. Dennis sprinkled his many stories with corny Dad jokes and his ever-infectious laughter.
Devoted to family, Dennis was actively involved in his children’s school activities when Jen, Meg and Matt were young. He volunteered for Pop Warner football, supported the Round Rock HS gymnastics and cheerleading programs, and seldom missed even a practice session. He continued this level of involvement with his bonus family, and served as an officer in Leander Band Booster Club for Matt Miller, whom he nicknamed “Chucky” (instead of Matt Two).
In 2008, Dennis received a heart transplant for which our family would like to thank the Louisiana donor family of Randy Hunter who gave us ten extra years of Dennis’ laughter and love. The family also would like to thank Dr. Alex Butkevich along with the many wonderful doctors and nurses on Dunn 10 at Methodist Hospital. Through years of escalating health challenges, Dennis bravely persevered with grace and his trademark sense of humor.
Services Saturday April 14, 2018 at Pat Foley funeral home, 1200 West 34th St., Houston TX. 77018. Visitation-11:00 to 1:00, Rosary 1:00, Service 1:30. Reception to follow.
- Visitation Saturday, April 14, 2018
- Rosary Saturday, April 14, 2018
- Funeral Service Saturday, April 14, 2018
- Reception Saturday, April 14, 2018
Dennis William Barbini
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Judy (Largent) Crowley
April 13, 2018
Please accept our sincere condolences on the loss of Dennis. Dennis had such an impact on the young men he coached in Round Rock Pop Warner and his own children were a constant source of pride. Rip in Coach.
April 9, 2018
I met Dennis during the time that my son-in-law, Scott Morgan, was in Austin awaiting his heart transplant and after he received it. Dennis, who also had a transplant, was a very nice outgoing person along with his wife that I enjoyed visiting with in Austin. It has been a pleasure to follow his path on Facebook with all his experiences on the posts put there by his sweet and devoted wife. I feel blessed to have known Dennis and been able to follow the life he and his wife created and lived since I first met him in Austin. Frances, you and his family have my sympathy as I know Dennis will be missed. God Bless all of you!
April 8, 2018
Love this obituary, and we loved Dennis! He was such a great addition to our family, with his love of all people and his cheerful optimism in all circumstances! Frances, kids, and grandkids, we love you all, and we are praying for strength for you.
April 7, 2018
His obituary says it all. Always friendly nice, and encouraging. And upbeat. One of the nicest people I have ever met. I am so sorry Francis, I am sending love hugs, and strength your way
April 7, 2018
Dennis and I grew up together in Hershey . I live in Annapolis, md
Clara Quinn derrick
April 5, 2018
Our prayers and sympathy to each of you. I worked with Dennis at Germania and enjoyed many marketing trips with him to agency classes. He was one of kind. Always remember the wonderful memories
March 31, 2018
My condolences to Dennis' family. Have great memories of our high school years at Lebanon Catholic High School. He was Co-Captain on the Beaver football team, served on the Junior Prom Committee, the Spires Yearbook Staff and played a role in the class Operetta, Marianne. And was never without an answer. Now I treasure the time even more that I was able to spend with him and Frances at one of the LCHS class reunions. May he rest in peace.
March 30, 2018
Sending love and condolences. You definitely made a joint effort to give Dennis his final years. Miss not being able to go to happy hour with you anymore, but the move was a good thing!