Dennis Lee Atenhan

September 3, 1938January 8, 2021

Dennis Lee Atenhan went to be with Jesus on January 8, 2021, as he passed away peacefully at his home in Loveland, Colorado. Dennis, a native of Deshler, Nebraska, was born on September 3, 1938. As a young man, Dennis attended Peace Lutheran School for 8 years before attending Deshler Public School, where he graduated in 1957. After graduation, Dennis attended airline school in Kansas City, and continued to work on his family farm until 1960, when he moved to Denver, Colorado. It was in Denver that Dennis met and married the love of his life, Rozella Shelden, of Byers Colorado, in 1961. This was also the year Dennis was inducted into the United States Army, serving in Alaska, with his new bride. After the army, Dennis worked for Frontier Airlines, followed by United Airlines until his retirement in 2000.

Dennis is survived by his sister; Sandi Anderson; his wife, Rozella Atenhan; his daughter and son-in-law, Chanda and Max Monroe; his son and daughter-in-law, Todd and Sonja Atenhan; his grandchildren, Brant Monroe and his wife Liz Monroe, Taylor Monroe, Nicholas Atenhan, Blake Atenhan, Haley Atenhan, and Olivia Atenhan; and his great-grandchildren, Avery Monroe and Emerson Monroe. He was preceded in death by his parents Orville and Florence Atenhan, as well as his sister, Connie Seaton.

These are the facts of Dennis’ life, but there remains so much more that needs to be said about this wonderful man with the mischievous smile and twinkling blue eyes. This is because all the dates and facts of his life will not provide a proper legacy of the love that Dennis leaves behind. In the words of his adoring daughter, “he was a social butterfly who never met a stranger.” And remembering the names of new friends would never pose a problem for this social butterfly, because one of his favorite things to do was assign nicknames to everyone. He had friends wherever he went, and loved to start his days by hanging out with his buddies at the coffee shop. Reflecting on his mission to make friends, it becomes easy to understand how pleasing this characteristic of Dennis’ life must have been to Jesus, since Romans 15:7 tells us that “we are to welcome one another as Christ has welcomed [us], for the glory of God.” As Jesus welcomes Dennis into heaven, please join our family in memorializing him with stories, anecdotes, and memories of how he touched your life. This is an opportunity to honor a man who will be greatly missed by anyone who had the honor to know him. Just click on the Add a Memory button at the bottom of this page and share your thoughts.


20 January

Graveside Service

1:15 pm - 1:45 pm

Fort Logan National Cemetery

Denver, CO


Dennis Lee Atenhan

have a memory or condolence to add?

Bette Pumphrey

January 19, 2021

Fred was our neighbor for 20 years in Mission Viejo. He was my husband, Walter's co-worker at United Airlines for about 10 years. Fred was such a cheerful, friendly great neighbor. Fred and Rose were so good to my sons. They felt like family. And Walt said at work he was everyone's friend and everyone liked him. They had fun at work. Fred also had the unique distinction for Walt and me of being a "matchmaker". I'm forever grateful to Fred.
A few years ago Fred and Rose went with Walt and me on a trip to Santa Fe. We were downtown in the main square and we realized Fred was missing. Some time had passed and I was getting worried about him. We finally found him standing on a corner ( smoking) calmly like a little lost sheep. He's with the Good Shepherd now.
We'll miss you Freddie!

Gilbert Caldwell

January 19, 2021

I knew Dennis as Freddy my entire life. Visiting him and my cousin Rose(Skipper) were always highlights. He was great fun to be around and was always in a good mood. He didn’t have an unkind word for anyone. He will be missed.

Claudia and Gary Swigart

January 18, 2021

“Freddie “, that’s what we called him, was a kind soul who loved life, friends, his woodworking, coffee with the boys, his family and sharing his life stories with all. Trips to the DQ a couple times a week for hot fudge sundaes where one time he saw to it that a homeless person had food. Hollering “hey kids get over here and visit” when we walked by. Making a piggy bank for our great granddaughter. Making airplanes in his shop and giving them to friends and to the museum in Deshler. Freddie was one of a kind who will be missed by those whose lives he touched. Hugs and Love to the family.

Justin Montgomery

January 18, 2021

To the Atenhan Family and Friends.

I have many great memories of my Uncle Fred. My brother John has already noted some memoirs that we shared together when we visited their Mission Viejo home in the 80s and 90s growing up.

It is true... as I remember him getting the pizza and soda pop...and it was a luxury!
We played board games and he rented us kids movies. In other times that we visit coming from Alliance, Nebraska to stay with Aunt Skipper, Uncle Fred...and cousins Chanda and Todd...I always looked forward to going to this house especially in the basement to see all of his model airplanes either that were built or of what he was working on. The tools in his garage were fun to check out and of course to sit in his black Chevy El Camino (drivers side) with the truck bed. Sometimes, I would even get in trouble for that (when he caught me).....and it is fun to look back on and laugh at that.

A great memory that I will always cherish of when I was 18 in 93'... he took me (and I think Max went also) to DIA before it was even open for an air show, which I'll never forget.

Even as I grew older.... in my twenties, thirties and even forties he was always very much interested in what I had going on in life even if now having a family of my own. His presence was always a blessing, and I enjoyed it fondly. It will be missed.

Godspeed Uncle Freddy.

Patty Pecoraro

January 18, 2021

Dennis was my oldest cousin and I loved being around him!! Several things come to mind when I think of Dennis. I thought he was so brave when our grandfather Atenhan passed away in 1955. At that time the tradition was that the deceased was brought back to their home for visitation until the funeral and he laid in state in the living room. At night Dennis slept on the couch in the living room with Grandpa in his casket and I felt like he did that to keep the rest of us safe since I was only four. After Dennis graduated from High School and before going to Denver he lived with our family in Minden, NE for a period of time and helped at my parents business. That is when I decided he was like a big brother. One weekend in the summer he was going back to Deshler and Grandma wanted me to come with him and spend the weekend. Dennis had a really cool convertible and we made the whole trip with the top down and the music blaring which was so much fun. When we got to the family farm he dropped me off and headed off with a friend. He and his friend had only gone a mile or two and wrecked his car in a ditch. We were relieved to know that no one was hurt and no wonder my mom was a little nervous to have me go with him to Deshler!!
Dennis had tons of friends in Deshler, but while he was in Minden he dated a girl that use to walk her pet skunk on a leash passed our business a couple of times a day! Thank goodness the skunk was descended and declawed!! I always wondered why he would want to date someone with a skunk for a pet!
Another great memory was one Christmas when my grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins came to our house. We were playing the Peppermint Twist on our player piano and everyone started dancing and of course Dennis and his dad were the life of the party! Such fun!!
Dennis was always full of fun times with a twinkle in his eye, and a personality that was like a magnet!! Dennis will be deeply missed but the memories will be with me forever!

Dennis Carr

January 18, 2021

Clara and I met Dennis and Rose Atenhan through the Loveland Nazarene church some years ago. The novelty of having identical first names created a unique kind of friendship with Dennis that lasted. Having known few with the name 'Dennis' in my life and now there were three named Dennis in the same church, and with the same middle name! Now that was awesome! Dennis Lee Atenhan, Dennis Lee Cox, and myself Dennis Lee Carr. Discussions, and the friendship, among the three of us are cherished memories for me!

As Dennis' walking became unstable, Clara, a nurse, 'adopted' Dennis and walked arm-in-arm with him to his car after church to help steady him. Not sure Dennis was as bad as he made it seem, though, but Clara didn't mind. She was a nurse!

Dennis was an artist and sculpture with his beautifully crafted models of planes and cars. He gave me a model of a Boeing 747 carrying the space shuttle, which I treasure and keep in a safe and visible location in my home. Wish I had his skills.

Dennis had no enemies, everyone he met was his friend. He liked to talk, but was great at listening. McDonald's was his second morning home where he met with friends most mornings of the week for coffee and talk. Talk about past friends, past adventures and, of course, politics and solving the world's problems!

Dennis is gone from this life, but not forgotten! And, as I told him the last time I saw him, “Enjoy the beauty of Heaven, and save a place for me! The good Lord willing, I will see you in a few!”

Dennis Carr

Phil Gamble

January 18, 2021

After reading the many memories by friends and loved ones, my immediate response was "Yep, that was uncle Fred!" Fred was such a giving, unselfish man with a true servant's heart! I have many fond memories of Fred from my early years of returning back to Denver in '68. Typical of Fred and Skipper, they opened their home to me and I lived with them for approximately 10 months. Space won't allow the many funny experiences I had with uncle Fred.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to spend any time with Fred these last few years, but I have a blessed assurance that we're going to be spending a lot of time together in eternity!! May God bless and comfort you, the family!
Fred's nephew,
Phil 😔

Marie Johnson

January 18, 2021

I will always have the fondest of memories of Dennis, who I knew as Fred. Fred was the kindest of people, had a gentle heart, and an ever present smile. Most of my memories are from childhood and he was always welcoming and nice to us kids. He played with us and shared his lap. Fred was a quiet person but he made his presence known with his laugh. I remember him enjoying making us laugh. I have no doubts he will be greatly missed by all his family and friends. I send my condolences and prayers to his family. I pray they feel the peace of our Heavenly Father during this time of grief.

Joe Sherrell

January 18, 2021

I remember Fred since I was a child. He was always sweet and friendly. He knew how to make everyone feel apart of the family and never seemed to have a worry in the world.
We’ll miss Fred, dearly

Liz Monroe

January 18, 2021

Oh Gramps. From the minute Brantie brought me home to meet you, you treated me like your own. We've had so many great times and when we had Avery, you two became thick as thieves, constantly getting into mischief as only a girl and her Pappy could. Emerson came along and rounded out your little trouble making trio. You've instilled your love and sense of wonderment for the simple pleasures of life into all of us, and we are grateful. We're going to miss our 4th of July driveway parties and drinking coffee listening to one of your many stories. Whether it was about the farm when you were young, working for the Airlines way back when, or just getting morning coffee with "the guys" earlier in the week; you always had something fun and interesting to say. We're going to miss your contagious laughter, the twinkle in your eye and your warm hugs. You were one in a million, and I love you, "old man".
Love always,
"Elvira" xoxo