Nature 45

Dennis Barrette

October 2, 2020


Dollar Bay: Dennis Barrette of Dollar Bay, MI passed away peacefully at home on Friday, October 2, 2020 after a lengthy illness. He was 79 years old. 

     Dennis was born on November 23, 1940 to Gerard (Gary) and Myrtle Barrette. He grew up in Swedetown, played football, was an ROTC cadet, and graduated from Calumet High School in 1958. He earned a degree in Mathematics from Michigan Tech in 1963. He served proudly in the Army/National Guard from 1959-1966. 

     Dennis met the love of his life at Big Traverse one summer when his family owned the cottage next door to her family. His mother recalls looking out the window to find Dennis & Sandy walking hand in hand. 

     Dennis & Sandy were married on September 15, 1962 at the Norwegian Lutheran Church in Calumet, MI. They built a home in Dollar Bay in 1966 where they raised their three children. 

     In his early years, Dennis worked at the Spur Gas Station in Laurium and WHDF Radio in Calumet.
Dennis began his 30+ year career with UPPCo in Houghton in 1964, building the company’s data processing system from the ground up, attending several extensive trainings with IBM in New York City in the 1960s and 70s. He was later given the honor of serving as UPPCo’s Vice President of Public and Corporate Relations. 

     Dennis also worked as Office Manager at ReMax Douglass Real Estate, Superintendent of Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Schools while three of his grandchildren were students, served on the board at Northern Mutual Insurance, and was later elected as a Commissioner for Houghton County.

     He was a proud member of the Dollar Bay Lions Club and enjoyed working at the famous Dollar Bay Chicken Barbecue on the 4th of July when it first began in the late 1960s. He missed only two years from the start of the barbecue in the 1960s until the last year he was able to work the pits in 2017. 

     He served with the Houghton Rotary Club, the Osceola Township School Board, The United Way Board, Michigan Tech Alumni Association Board, and numerous other community programs.

     Dennis enjoyed coaching hockey and baseball. He played in the softball league at church. He loved watching his grandchildren play in athletic, musical, and other school events. He enjoyed DBTC Bluebolt basketball, listening intently to the games on the radio when he could not make it to the bleachers.

     Dennis loved fishing and hunting and was a proud member of the Mosquito Lake Culture Club with lifelong friends including the late Ron Arntsen, Marquette and Gene Arntsen, Lake Medora. He spoke often about his fishing adventures, including some in Canada. 

     Dennis enjoyed playing and watching golf, tapping trees, making maple syrup, reading, cribbage, daily crosswords, and spending time with family and friends. He was always willing to pitch a baseball or kickball game every single time he was asked, to the delight of every child in the yard. 

     Dennis was a member of the choir at First Lutheran Church in Dollar Bay, several local ecumenical choirs, a barbershop quartet, and provided music upon request at several weddings and funerals.

     He valued family and friendship above all things. His favorite “titles” in life were son, brother, cousin, husband, dad, uncle, grandpa, great-grandpa, and friend. 

     Dennis was preceded in death by two newborn sons, his father, Gerard (Gary) A. Barrette, and wife Sandy.  

     He is survived by his mother Myrtle Barrette, The Bluffs, Houghton, sister Jill (Bill) Hodges, Big Traverse, children Brad (Roxanne) Barrette, Hubbell, Lynn Barrette, Dollar Bay, Lucas (Laurie) Barrette, Iron Mountain, grandchildren Bradley, Jesse, Britney, Aimee, James, Maggie, Joshua, and great-grandchild Otto; sisters-in-law including Donna (Michael) Fountaine, Tamarack City, brothers-in-law, friend and former brother-in-law Burt (Kelly) Arola and many cousins, including Gerald (Jerry) Mattson, Madison Heights, MI, nephews, nieces, and good friends. 

     Our heartfelt thanks to Dr. Terry Kinzel and the team at UP Health System Home Care & Hospice for their support and guidance for dad’s care at home. 

     In the interest of keeping everyone safe and healthy, there will be no service or gathering. 

     In celebration of Dennis’ life, we encourage you to watch a sunrise, go fishing or play catch with a child, shoot some hoops, teach someone how to play cribbage, roast hotdogs and marshmallows over a campfire, savor that second cup of coffee on an unrushed morning, consider coaching or giving back to the community in some way best suited to your gifts. 

     Share a story with us about Dennis via mail at PO Box 357, Dollar Bay MI 49922 and online at  

     The Barrette family asks that your generous donations be directed to the Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Area Schools, PO Box 371, Dollar Bay, MI 49922 and the Dollar Bay Fire Department & Emergency Medical Responders, PO Box 112, Dollar Bay, MI 49922. 

     The Pearce Funeral Home in Lake Linden is in charge of arrangements.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dennis Barrette, please visit our floral store.


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