Cover photo for Dennis Ray Kenning's Obituary
Dennis Ray Kenning Profile Photo
1948 Dennis 2020

Dennis Ray Kenning

February 3, 1948 — September 9, 2020

            Strength has many faces and all of them came together in Denny Kenning.  The strength of his body ended Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney, NE following three different cancers and heart issues.  His memories will continue to inspire generations of his loved ones.

            Denny was born February 3, 1948 at Benkelman, NE the second son of Dotty (Prideaux) and Charles (Chuck) J. Kenning.  They lived at Bird City, Kansas until 1958, then moved to Elwood, NE where his dad worked for Bill Bogle.  He attended Elwood Public Schools in the brick two story building which stood where the Elwood Care Center now sits.  They moved to Arapahoe for a very short time the fall of 1964, returning to Elwood that winter to live just east of Johnson Lake.  His folks then moved to Lexington just before his senior year so he lived with the Melvin Houlden family in order to graduate with the Elwood class of ’66.  They considered him their “adopted” son and he remained close to his extended brothers and sisters.

Denny had a strong sense of strength when it came time for him to serve his country and enlisted in the US Army in March of 1967 knowing full well he would probably serve in the war.  Basic training was taken at Fort Bliss, Texas and AIT at Fort Leonardwood, Missouri, and was then ordered to serve a year in Vietnam with the 52nd Engineering Battalion, finishing out his military career at Fort Carson, Colorado. There he helped build berms around the Rocky Mountain Arsenal which laid in the path of the major airport at that time and needed protection in case of a plane crash.   

His junior year, Denny went to work for William Knoerzer after school and during his summer and holiday breaks which was the beginning of an over 40 year employment history.  The day he started full time for  Knoerzer’s after his military release, was the day Willie’s son Bryant was born and he found a note on the door as to how to do chores.  He saw a great many changes over those years in farming practices, loved the work with cattle, and his favorite job was running the combine during fall harvest, never tiring even on the longest of days. 

On October 2, 1970 he married Irene Wilcox in Layfayette, Colorado, passing away just 24 days before reaching their 50th wedding anniversary.  When Kelly was just 5 and Tag 3 they bravely took on their own farming practice as Denny continued to work full time.  His strength of family and commitment to the land was proven as the entire family worked tirelessly together to maintain that farm until a few years ago when Denny decided to lease his crop ground, but had to have something to keep himself busy so he continued to swath, rake, and bale his own hay and a few neighbor’s plots.  He has always had horses on the farm including favorites of Molly, Dandy, and Bella and now a couple registered paint colts from Bella.  His cow herd was small but took all the family to help with feeding and calving assists over the years.  He is proud to see another generation of this family taking steps to continue the love of his land.

No matter how busy Denny was caring for his land, his animals, and his family, he always had time for fun.  He greeted everyone with a smile, many times embarrassing his wife and children with his jokes and pranks.  Denny was a 50 year member of the Legion Post 290, was active with the Elwood Rodeo club serving as president for 15 years, a supporter of the Elwood Booster Club, and a member of Our Redeemer Lutheran church Elwood. He loved following his grandchildren’s sports activities from Elwood to Elm Creek to Kenesaw.  He and neighbor Joe LOVED a good farm auction and he could sniff out a pair of CeeTee pliers at most to add to his collection of over 250.  He and his wife were a part of several pitch clubs over the years and he loved his winters playing four-point pitch with the guys for quarters.  In recent years he and Irene have spent many weekends at Jeffrey Lake with friends he made 51 years ago when he was stationed in Colorado.  He also liked cruising and attending area car shows with his 57 Ford and loved to be able to tease Tag when the Ford beat out the Chevy for trophy spots!   

He is preceded in death by his parents Charles and Dotty; parents in-law Clifford and Laura Wilcox; brother Bryan; sisters-in-law Donna Kenning and Ina Wilcox; brother-in-law Jim Ourada; nephews Jason Wilcox and Monte and Mitch Kenning and life-long friends.

Left to carry on his story are his wife Irene, daughter Kelly (Shannon) Bennett of Elwood and son Tag (Sandy) Kenning of Elm Creek; Dearly loved Grandchildren Cauy Bennett and Lauryn, Keaton, Kolton, and Kassidy Kenning all still at home; brothers Kenny (Kathy) of Gothenburg, Kevin of Lexington; sister Renita Ourada of Overton; “extended” siblings Rocky, Nancy, Stan, Ed, Russell, Connie, Ronnie, Linda, Dan, and Mary; sisters in-law Janice (Wayne) Lichtenwalter of Lexington, and Deloris Kenning Plummer (Paul) of Elwood; brother-in-law Gil Wilcox of Holdrege; plus numerous nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews whom he also adored.  

Memorials are suggested to the family in his name for later designation. Cremation was chosen. A memorial service will be held Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Elwood with Pastor Kenton Birtell officiating. Burial with military honors will be at Fort McPherson National Cemetery in Maxwell. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, burial will be limited to Denny's family. Memorial service and burial will be live streamed on Elwood Our Redeemer Lutheran Church Facebook page. Those wishing to sign the memorial book may do so on Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Berryman Funeral Home.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dennis Ray Kenning, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Book Signing

Monday, September 14, 2020

9:00am - 5:00 pm (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

Our Redeemer Lutheran Church

704 Smith Avenue, Elwood, NE 68937

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 39

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree