Walter R. Denett, Sr.

November 22, 2021Obituaries
Walter R. Denett, Sr.

Walter R. Denett, Sr., 89, of Summerset, SD, died Wednesday, November 17, 2021, at his home.

Walter, the youngest of 11 children, was born at home on August 5, 1932, in Whallonsburg, NY, to Charles Clyde and Eliza Hattie (Barnaby) Denett. After working at a paper mill near his home in New York State for a few years, Walter joined the US Air Force. He was stationed in Alaska for a few years and thoroughly enjoyed it there. He was then transferred to Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota. He met the love of his life, Verna Lewis, in Rapid City, SD, and married her in her home town of Hot Springs, SD, in March 1956. While living in Rapid City, their first two children, Mary and Tracy, were born. Walter was later transferred to Carswell AFB in Texas where their third daughter, Julia, was born. After 5 years in Texas, he was transferred to Edwards AFB in southern California, and it was there that his son, Walter Jr., was born. Finally, Walter and his family were transferred to Beale AFB in northern California where he retired from the service after, as he always put it, 20 years 6 months and 1 day.


Walter was initially a prop technician in the Air Force and later became an aircraft mechanic. He worked on everything from props to the SR71, also known as the Blackbird. Walt was very good with airplanes and was extremely proud of his military career. He was also an excellent carpenter and worked in construction for several years following his military retirement. In the early 1980s, when the bottom fell out of the construction industry in California, the family moved once more, this time to Verna’s home town of Hot Springs, SD. Verna worked for Sentinel Federal Credit Union and commuted from Hot Springs to Ellsworth AFB for 16 years. She also served as President of Sentinel FCU for several years before her retirement in 1999. Meanwhile, Walter worked for the South Dakota State Veterans’ Home in Hot Springs, retiring from that career in 1997.


He is survived by their four children: Tracy, Mary, and Walter Jr., of Summerset, SD, and Julia of Rapid City; 6 grandchildren; 8 great-grandchildren; 1 great-great-grandchild, and many nieces and nephews.


Walter was preceded in death by his parents, all 10 of his siblings, and his loving and devoted wife of 56 years, Verna (Lewis) Denett.


Visitation will be at Kinkade Funeral Chapel in Sturgis, SD, at 12:45 p.m. on Friday, November 26, 2021.


Committal services with military honors will be at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, November 26, 2021, at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis, SD.


Condolences may be sent to the family at