Dennis Charles Morrill, age 76 of Cannon Falls, died on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 at Mayo Health System - St. Mary's Campus, Rochester, following a very determined battle with lung cancer. The cause of death was complications related to the cancer. Born in Red Wing on May 2, 1940, Dennis spent his early years in Iowa while his father, Clair F. Morrill, worked for the Great Northern Railroad before the family returned to Randolph, where both his parents were raised. Education In Randolph, Dennis, or Denny as he was known, attended the Randolph Public School, where his mother, Idella was the school secretary. At Randolph, Denny participated in sports, including football and baseball, and just a bit of hellraising. In the summers, he worked on the Helmbreck Farm and then on the railroad with his father. It was at Randolph School that he met his future wife, Mar(lynn) (Douglas), when they were both 10, though the two would not start dating until after high school graduation. After graduating in 1958, Denny attended what was then called Mankato State Teachers College (now Minnesota State University at Mankato) where he earned a bachelor's degree in education, though his plans to teach were put on hold when he entered the Navy. Marriage and Family Just after graduation from Randolph School, Denny started to date Mar Douglas, the second daughter of Russ and Marian Douglas, who lived along Lake Byllesby and operated the famous Douglas Beach for many years. In 1959, the two became engaged and they were married at St. Pius Church in Cannon Falls on June 25, 1960. They had just celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary 10 days before Denny's passing. Following their marriage, the two lived in Mankato while Denny finished his degree. Their first child, Kristine, followed 14-months later followed by a second daughter, Cheryl in 1963 and a son, Michael in 1964. Work and Travel A member of the Naval Reserve in college, Denny joined the Navy in 1962, and after graduation left Minnesota for training in Florida. It was the first of many places he would live or visit over the rest of his life. In fact, Mar often said to her children that one of the reasons she fell for Denny was that she knew he was going to see the world and she wanted to be a part of that. And see the world they did – from the Philippines and Hong Kong while Denny served in Asia during the Vietnam War to the Sorocco Islands to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary and 70th birthdays while scuba diving, not to mention Fiji, Palau, Europe and the Caribbean – the two notched up many air miles enjoying their shared passion for traveling. Between trips, Denny was always planning the next trip and working hard to pay for the trips. As recently as this year, Denny and Mar spent five weeks in Strasbourg, France, visiting their eldest daughter, Kristine, who resides there. His years in the Navy saw the family live in Florida, Hawaii, California, Georgia and Virginia. When he left the Navy, Denny went to work for the Xerox Corporation and the family moved to Richmond, Virginia. Five years later, he joined his brother Jeffrey's start-up company, Impact Hearing Conservation, and another move was made, this time to Kansas City, MO. In 1986, when Impact was in need of a western sales manager, Denny and Mar headed west, back to their beloved California and set up life in Long Beach, where they lived along the water until 2012 –when the call of the road struck again as Denny retired, at the age of 72, from Impact Hearing, or Examinetics as it is now known. Retirement? Denny avoided retirement for as long as possible – he enjoyed being a salesman and was damn good at it – but in 2012, he and Mar bought a 37-foot RV, rented out their home in Long Beach and took to the road! Spending summers by Lake Byllesby, parked at Mar's brother and sister-in-law's place (Lynn & Virginia Douglas), they enjoyed the Minnesota summers. But, before the first snowflakes would fall in Minnesota, they would be on the road, heading south to warmer climates, stopping to visit friends and family along the way. Often in the spring and autumn, time was spent at Douglas Ranch in Paicines, CA, where they worked as ranch hands and enjoyed the company of Mar's brother Don and his wife Rani. Typically, in January, they would head "Lightening" (their RV) to Utah and Colorado to meet up with long-time Navy friends for ski season. Denny frequently complained about the price of ski passes, particularly as more +65 people joined him and Mar on the slopes to ski! In May 2015, Denny was diagnosed with Stage III non-small cell, Squamous cell carcinoma lung cancer. Shortly after, the family learned that it had spread to his brain. As was typical of Denny and Mar, they took this battle head on, seeking treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Northfield and, later, in Scottsdale, Arizona. He underwent treatment for the brain tumor, followed by chemotherapy and then a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. After six months of treatment, Denny was cleared to travel and they headed back west, spending his last winter in Arizona and California near family. In January, doctors discovered additional brain tumors and Denny underwent full brain radiation, which left him weakened. When he was ready to travel again, he and Mar drove Lightening back to Douglas Ranch to recuperate. He fought one helluva a fight in the 13 months ago after he was diagnosed, with the last few months being difficult. Still, he made it to France, saw one granddaughter graduate from UCLA (with honors), a grandson from high school (with honors) and found out that he was going to be a great-grandpa. Remembering Denny He was not an easy man. As his granddaughter, Lauren said, "he could be an a**, but he was our a**." He loved his family fiercely and was proud of everything that they did. Denny loved watching just about every kind of sports, knew his wines, loved his vodka martinis with a twist of lemon, and his stingers (green crème de menthe with brandy). He was a master of the grill and could barbeque anything. He told great stories and loved to hear them as well. He passed away in the early morning hours of Tuesday, July 5 with his wife and two nephews by his side. After an eventful 76 years, it was a quiet exit. We will miss him terribly. Survivors He is survived by his wife, Marlynn; three children: Kristine (Strasbourg, France), Cheryl Morrill Moran (Long Beach, CA) and Michael (Long Beach CA); four grandchildren: Holiday Bean (Ft. Worth, TX), Lauren Blanchard, Claire Blanchard and Charlie Blanchard (all of Long Beach); one brother, Jeffrey and his wife, Barbara (Walker, MN); as well as Mar's 11 siblings, nieces and nephews on both sides of the family, as well as numerous cousins (we would love to list everyone, but we cannot take up the whole issue of the Beacon!). In Memory Denny's request was that there be no funeral, no sadness to mark his passing. Instead, a party celebrating his life will take place at the old Douglas Beach, 7030 295th St; Cannon Falls at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 24. Everyone who knew Denny is welcome at this open house. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Denny's name to AbilityFirst of Long Beach, the after school program attended by his granddaughter, Claire: https://www.abilityfirst.org/donate/donate_start.aspx.
Funeral Home: Lundberg Funeral Home 5839 Hwy 19 Blvd Cannon Falls, MN US 55009
Service: Sunday, July 24, 2016