It is with a heavy heart, that I announce my beloved husband, Dennis Hatmaker, passed away peacefully at home on February 21, 2023 after a long and hard-fought four year battle with cancer. It was just two days after his husband, Jeff’s, birthday and two days before his own.
Dennis was born in Baltimore, Maryland on February 23, 1952, the youngest of three sons. After graduating from Lansdowne High School, he completed his undergraduate degree in Psychology & Communications at the University of Washington where he played as a linebacker for the Huskies. He was an inensely passionate Huskies fan. Subsequently, he went on to the practice squad for the Minnesota Vikings.
Years later, he relocated to Long Beach, CA where he worked for several decades in the Los Angeles Unified School District (75th St Elementary & 74th St Elementary Gifted Magnet). He initially worked as an elementary school teacher; and then, ultimately as an Assistant Principal where he was highly regarded and loved by coworkers, parents, and students. He will always be remembered as a gentle giant who was kind, sweet, and positive. Many would hear him referenced as always being “high on life.”
He had a longstanding passion for sports, television game shows (two of which he won in the 1980s) and Asian antiques. He began a relationship with his husband, Jeff, in 2004. They had an incredible amount in common. They shared a love for 80s music, most all TV shows, love for beach destinations, fantasy football, shopping together for similar styles, and a passion for animals. In 2009, when Jeff returned from medical training back east, they moved in together on Ocean Avenue with a limitless view of the coastline in Long Beach, CA. They married in 2013 after the overturning of California’s Proposition 8.
After he retired in 2014, they had two amazing children, Remington Elysse and Josh Dennison (JD). Dennis adored the children with all his heart. He would fondly say that cutting Josh’s umbilical cord “was the greatest moment of my life.” He was incredibly proud being a primary parent to both Remi and Josh while Jeff continued to work full-time. He was very hands-on as a father and professed his love of the “baby phase” and cherished every moment of raising his children. He took pride in decorating the house throughout the holidays and loved handing out candy to the hundreds of children that would visit on Halloween. He would always make sure the kids took pictures with the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus each year.
Dennis absolutely loved taking the family out for an afternoon to eat at Mother’s Beach or the Long Beach marina. He also lived for annual trips to Carlsbad on the waterfront which was a family tradition He also loved taking trips to Palm Springs, San Francisco, Sedona, Carmel, Hawaii, and Santa Cruz.
He was preceded in death by his father Dyle Hatmaker and mother Catherine Phillips. He is survived by his husband Jeff Turner, two children Remi and Josh, two older brothers Dyle and Vaughn, as well as his two nieces and grandnephews/niece. His lifetime contributions as an educator, loving father, and undyingly devoted husband will forever be remembered and missed dearly.
To my husband, I miss you terribly and love you with all of my heart, each and every day, from now until eternity when the day comes that we will be reunited and continue our incredible journey side by side.
With Everlasting Love,
Donations can be made to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Dennis' honor. www.stjude.org