Chip had a distinguished career and all that were acquainted with him will remember him as a person who was deeply passionate about any endeavor he pursued. He truly made a difference.
At the age of 17, Chip embarked on his journey to become a corporate pilot at the Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology in Tulsa, OK, where he obtained his Commercial Pilot Certification and began flying mail from Victoria to Houston and Dallas. During his career as a pilot, Chip obtained many certificates, including Airline Transport Pilot (ATP), Airframe and Powerplant Aviation Mechanic (A&P), Certified Flight Instructor Instrument (CFII), Visual Flight (VFR) and Instrumentation Flight Rating (IFR) and accumulated over 10,000 hours of flight time.
Through his career as a pilot, Chip transported business executives, state legislators, U.S. Senators, and governors all over Texas and, as a flight instructor, he loved sharing his expertise with aspiring pilots.
In 1984, Chip became the co-owner of East End Lumber Co. and East End Builders. He was an active member of the Crossroads Builders Association (formerly named Builders Association of Victoria), Texas Association of Builders and the National Association of Home Builders. Chip was a staunch advocate for builders and homeowners dedicating countless hours to the development and adoption of safe and affordable building codes including the International Code Council, Texas Department of Insurance Windstorm Code and the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Coastal Construction Manual.
He chaired multiple state and national committees and in recognition of his contributions, he received many honors including: Builder Member of the Year six times at the Crossroads Builders Association; Texas Association of Builders Ted Schlossman Lifetime Achievement Award; Texas Association of Builders Remodeler of the Year Award; Texas Association of Builders J.B. Sandlin Builder of the Year Award; and Texas Association of Builders Best Historic Restoration Star Award. Further, and what he was most proud of, was being inducted into the Texas Housing Hall of Honor by the Texas Association of Builders in 2017.
Beyond his professional achievements, Chip had a wide range of interests and passions. He cherished his loving wife, Mary Jane, and enjoyed spending time with her at their cabin in New Mexico. Chip also loved playing golf, a game he picked up at the youthful age of 65 and soon mastered, averaging 300 games a year to the very end. He enjoyed fishing and honing his skills as a chef, wine connoisseur and harvester of chili petin.
He was a gifted craftsman, builder, leader, and statesman.
Chip lived life to the fullest and left an indelible impact on those around him.
Chip is survived by his beloved wife, Mary Jane, and his siblings: Joyce Kendall, Gloria Raymond, Melody Chase, David Dence, Marvin Dence, Stephen Dence, and LaVern Dence. He was preceded in death by his father, Calvin Dence, Sr., and mother, Ursula Thurnheer Dence.
Services will be held at First United Methodist Church on February 4, 2024 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Following will be a Celebration of Life at Greek's 205 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Chip was an ardent supporter of the building industry and the next generation of construction trades professionals. He was a major contributor to the Texas Builders Foundation, which provides students working toward a construction certification, license, or degree with scholarships. His family asks that if you are so moved, to make a donation to this fund in his memory (www.TexasBuildersFoundation.org/make a donation).
Chip Dence will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and all whose lives he touched. May his memory be a source of comfort and inspiration.
Chip always parted company with the words “thank you for being my friend’.
Thank you Chip, for being our friend.
Mary Jane DenceWife
Calvin Dence Sr.Father (deceased)
Ursula Thurnheer DenceMother (deceased)