Dennis was born in Deanville, Texas, on April 24, 1936, at the home of his parents Mr. and Mrs. Anton Hejtmancik, who lived near the church and cemetery across the Highway 60, Westside. Shortly after, his parents bought their own farm in the Hogg community. Here the family lived and farmed and became a part of the community. All the children helped with the daily chores and farm operations. Dennis was a child born during the Depression days- a period of hard times.
There were six children in the family and his place was the fifth child and youngest of the boys. His mother said he was hardly a blade of grass growing in the yard during the time the children were growing up. The sisters and brothers always had many playmates; the family had many aunts, uncles, and cousins. Sundays were a day of rest, a day to go to church, and to visit relatives and friends.
At the age of six, Dennis entered the Hogg Elementary School. He went to this school through the fourth grade. Next, he went to Deanville Elementary School through the 8th grade. In 1954, he graduated from Caldwell High School. During his school years, he was active in the 4-H & FFA Clubs. He proudly achieved the Loan Star farmer degree during his Senior Year in high school.
After high school, he entered Durham‘s Business College and took a course in bookkeeping. After finishing at Durham’s, he was hired at Alcoa Aluminum, and worked in the management section. In 1958, after being laid off, he entered Sam Houston State University and received his degree in Sociology and minor in Business. He worked at Texas A&M the rest of his working years, until he retired in 1991.
Dennis and Estelle Hejtmancik were married August 30, 1958 at Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church at sundown. Together, they were married 62 years plus. During this marriage, they were joined by two daughters, Karen Delane, on November 17, 1961, and Jill Denise on October 16, 1964. Dennis was a family man, and he was proud of his daughters. Both girls played in the high school marching band, and the parents attended many high school football games and many band activities. Many nights, Dennis waited at Bryan High School for band busses to come back after out-of-town games and band activities.
Dennis belonged to several organizations, including the Lions’ Club serving for more than 30 years. This club supported corneal transplants, Leader Dogs for the Blind, Crippled Children’s Camp at Kerrville, as well as scholarships for high school seniors, Christmas movies, and giving away bicycles to use in the community. He also served as a troop leader in the Boy Scouts for a number years. During these years, he took the scouts to different camping outings. A highlight for the troop to go Trick-or-Treating on Halloween.
He was an active member of the Ledbetter Fireman’s Organization, helping with numerous fundraising activities and organizational needs, plus the building of a new fire station.
He and Estelle were members of St. John’s Lutheran Church at Deanville, supporting the church when he could. Dennis enjoyed family reunions in high school class reunions. He kept track of his class members for many years. Dennis was a member of the SPJST organization at Dime box. His grandfather Hejtmancik was a charter member of this chapter. His father and oldest daughter were also members. He loved to watch the Aggies play football and taped the games to watch many times later.
Dennis passion was serving others as well as his Lord. He regularly read the Bible and marked the Bible verses that were his favorites. The 23rd Psalm was his most favorite.
Dennis was preceded in death his parents, brother Marvis and his wife Gay Hejtmancik, sister-in-law Carolyn Hejtmancik and brother-in-law’s Eddie Leinweber, Charles Gentry and Harold Wendler.
Surviving him is his wife Estelle, his daughters Karen Delane and husband Bob Blakley, Jill and her husband Lance Bullard, Jr. Four grandchildren survive him Sean and his wife Amber Blakley, Justin and his wife Kayla Bullard. Granddaughters Laura Blakley and Caitlin Bullard. A future great-grandson, Boone, will join the family in August. Two brothers Lloyd and his wife Joyce Hejtmancik and Lynn Hejtmancik. Sisters LaVelle Leinweber and Ilene Gentry. He is also survived by sister-in-law’s Aileen Carter and Shirley Wendler.
As Dennis was reflecting upon his family, he commented that both daughters graduated from Texas A&M as well as for grandchildren he said, “That’s pretty good for two people who grew up in the cotton patch.”