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Dennis Neill - Year Entered 1971

Dennis Neill

From Henry Sturcke on 10/2/2017


Dennis died March 5 at his home in Ketchikan, Alaska. He had battled cancer for several years.

Here is a link to an online obituary:

Anyone who would like to post memories of Dennis can do so at a site that Faith maintains at The exact link is

Dennis and I were classmates in Pasadena and colleagues -- he edited the Portfolio, I was managing editor. That meant we spent many hours together.
He had the distinction of having an article published in the Plain Truth while still a student. I don't know how often that happened. The research he did for that led to an invitation to apply for his post-graduation job with the U. S. Department of Agriculture.
In a nice twist of fate, I was transferred back from Belgium to Washington, D.C. in the summer of 1975, where Dennis was living was living with his wife, Chris (Heap). We saw each other at least once a week, often fellowshipping after services until late Saturday evening. But then it was time for my wife and me to move on again after only a year-and-a-half, after which Dennis and I lost touch. But I value the memory of the time we shared. He could be both sardonic and gentle, sometimes at one and the same time. I treasured his down-to-earth approach to life, his intelligence, and his hospitality.

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03/01/24 08:27 PM #1    

Wil (Wilbur) Berg (1957)

Susan Blumel-Berg here (wife of Wil).  Unable to open the obit above, so found it online:


Dennis Neill died on March 5, 2017. Dennis was born in rural north central Missouri on February 20, 1951 to Betty and Hubert Neill. He was of Western Cherokee and Irish extraction, his ancestors having fought in the Revolutionary War in Tennessee and Kentucky. After graduating from Trenton High School as a National Merit Scholar he attended college in Columbia, Missouri, in agricultural journalism. He completed his undergraduate work in Pasadena, California at Ambassador College.

Dennis grew up in farming country, and growing up there he loved to fish the ponds around the family farm in north central Missouri. On a cross country camping trip his family went to visit an uncle who was working as a dam builder in Oregon. There he got to meet public lands officials, including forest rangers working to manage natural resources on the National Forests. He loved the western landscapes, and managed to hunt and fish on many public lands as he grew to adulthood.

He married his first wife, Chris Heap, and had two daughters, Erin and Heather. Dennis worked at a research job in the USDA in Washington, D.C. and for APHIS in Oregon before becoming the public affairs officer on the San Juan National Forest. Dennis worked his way up as an information officer on the Type 1 fire team in the Rocky Mountains and worked many fire-fighting efforts, including the Yellowstone fires of 1988; he also was the lead information officer for the national incident management team that traveled across the nation working non-fire incidents.

Dennis was instrumental in collaborative work managing the sacred Medicine Wheel and was respected by multiple tribal leaders and holy people. During his career he worked at the Forest Service regional office in Denver, on the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota, a District Ranger on the Grasslands of North Dakota, and finally moved to Alaska to take the lead public affairs officer position on the Tongass National Forest in Ketchikan, Alaska in 2001.

He retired from federal service in 2008, and began a private consultancy, working for The Nature Conservancy in Alaska. Alaska was a dream come true assignment for Dennis, who had worked for several of the affected Boroughs during the Valdez oil spill cleanup. He married Faith Duncan in December, 2001. In 2007 Dennis and Faith lived out a lifelong dream of traveling to Africa. Like most things in his life, he approached his eight year cancer fight with positivism and tolerance. He maintained a smile for friends and a penchant for coffee ice cream until his end on a snowy weekend in March, 2017 He is survived by Faith, daughters Erin Williams and Heather, and grandchildren, Tahauqua “Tag” and Zora Williams.

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