Dennis Craig Royce, Sr., 67, of Colona, passed away Tuesday, February 16, 2021, at OSF St. Francis Medical Center, Peoria.
Cremation rites have been accorded. Public visitation will be 2:00-5:00 p.m., Saturday, February 27, 2021, at Esterdahl Mortuary & Crematory, Ltd., Moline. Private family memorial services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, February 28, and a livestream of the service can be found on Dennis’s obituary page at www.esterdahl.com (a link will appear at the bottom of the website on the day of the service). In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Birdies for the Brave (https://birdiesforthebrave.org/donate/) or K9s for Warriors (https://www.k9sforwarriors.org/). In accordance with restrictions, attendees are expected to wear a face mask and observe social distancing.
Dennis was born on April 18, 1953, in Carthage, Illinois, the second son of William Donald, Sr, and Vera Henrietta Jacobs Royce. He was a 1971 graduate of LaHarpe High School in LaHarpe, Illinois. He received his Associate’s Degree from Black Hawk College in Moline, Illinois. He married Lori Sue Richards on January 11, 2005, in Negril, Jamaica. He was employed in supply chain management with John Deere for 43 years until his retirement in 2015.
Survivors include his wife, Lori Sue Richards Royce; sons, Dennis Craig Royce, Jr., and Andrew Robert Royce (Tracie Rasmussen Royce); grandchildren, Austin Lee Royce, Kenna Kitt Rasmussen Royce, Hayden Andrew Royce, and Colby James Rasmussen; siblings, Patricia Royce Shoemaker, William Donald Royce, Jr. (Michaela Ollet Royce), James Alan Royce, Sr. (Judy Jordan Royce), nieces Amanda Shoemaker, April Royce and Claire Lynn; nephews William Jacob Royce and James Royce, Jr. and many cousins. He was preceded in death by his father and mother.
Denny was a friend to anyone he met and most happy being with family and friends. He was never happier than being on any golf course, playing the game he loved and striving to improve his score with every swing of a club. He never knew a stranger and if you needed a joke, he was the one to go to, as he had quite the repertoire. The Royce family was on the move throughout Denny’s childhood and he grew up with his three siblings traveling the United States. With his father being very successful in the retail business, the family was transferred almost yearly to a new W. T. Grant store so his father could improve the sales in that new venue and then be sent on to complete that task in the next store. The family made their homes in several cities in several states including Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin. Denny kept track of how many homes, cities, and states he had lived in and the house in Colona was number 42 for him. Along with his siblings, Denny learned that being the new kid every year made it most important to have a personality that drew people to you - and he definitely mastered that art. His smile drew you in and the twinkle in his eyes made you realize you would enjoy any time - or escapade - that you shared with him. His nickname as a child was Sam, named after his grandad Jacobs, because he shared the fun-loving personality that his grandfather lived every day. Denny was a father before the age of twenty and raised two amazing sons who remained close to their father during his lifetime. As his younger son Andy remembers, “I’m grateful that Dad mastered the evolution of raising young boys at a young age to becoming a treasured best friend as an adult. I’m not done learning from him; I'm not done laughing with him; and I’m not done hugging him.” Indeed!
As a son, he stood by both of his parents during their lifetime and in their last days, taking extra special care of his mom in her final years with the help of wife, Lori. As a brother, he was always there for support and to be that loving heart to share in his siblings’ joys and sorrows. As a devoted husband, Denny was Lori’s “favorite person in the whole world”, and they enjoyed hours of golfing, friendship, and laughter together. Denny was by her side every step of the way through her breast cancer treatment, and he was never without a smile when he said her name. As a father, his sons were blessed to have a man to love and emulate throughout their lives. As a grandfather, he beamed with pride at every milestone in his grandkids’ lives. And as a man, few will come close to his legacy. To know Denny was to have a forever friend, a loving confidante, and a person you could always depend on to lift your spirits and make any day brighter and better!
Memories may be shared on the tribute wall.
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