Dennis Wayne VanBuren


CHOCOLAY TOWNSHIP, MI – Dennis Wayne VanBuren, age 65, of Chocolay Township, entered eternal life Friday, March 17, 2017, at his home.

Born May 18, 1951, in Marquette, a son of Gerald W. and Verna (Surfass) VanBuren, Dennis was raised in the 480 Cedar Creek area of Chocolay Township. As a youth, he belonged to the Trail Blazer’s 4-H Club, exhibiting his horse, “Tiny”, in various horseshows. Over the years, he and Tiny received several trophies, awards, and ribbons for their showmanship, often showing at the DeVooght and Fassbender farms. Also, during his youth, Dennis delivered newspapers on horseback, taking over the route from his brother, “Skip”. In 1969, Dennis graduated from Marquette Senior High School and later enlisted in the US Marine Corps, serving overseas for eleven months and twenty-seven days, during the Vietnam Era. Receiving his honorable discharge in 1971, he returned to Marquette where he began a long career with Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company as a miner and blaster, retiring following over 30 years of service to the company. Dennis loved participating in sports, especially outdoors. In his 30’s, he participated in baseball with Marquette City league teams, enjoyed downhill skiing at the former Mt Mesnard hill in South Marquette, and enjoyed cross country skiing until recently. He loved trapshooting, sporting clays and skeet shooting, and traveled to various state competitions, winning several state awards, among them Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois State titles. As he so often did, Dennis shared his love of these sports with his siblings and especially enjoyed teaching his nieces and nephews sports they could enjoy for the rest of their lives. His beloved English setters, Rosie, Dazy, and Bella, were never far from him and he never tired of training and running them. His favorite interests could be summed up in basically a few words, his dogs, trapshooting, hunting, and fishing. Dennis was a member of Redeemer Lutheran Church and the West Branch and Sagola Township Sportsman’s Clubs.

Dennis is survived by his very special friend and companion, Shelly Halverson; siblings, Gerald “Skip” (Sharon Rosin) VanBuren, Arlove Boucher, and Debra (Gary) Martin; nieces and nephews, Tim Boucher, Kim Ann (Jim) Hardy, Jeri (Mark) Brisson, Sue (Todd) Ninnis, Bill VanBuren, Jennifer (Jason) Dachs, Jessica Styer, Rebecca Denny, Sara (Rob) Pendola; 22 great nieces and nephews; and ever faithful canine pal, Bella.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Jack and Verna VanBuren; in-laws, John and Scotti Rossi; brother-in-law, Richard Boucher; nephew, Steven Boucher; two infant brothers; and his pride and joy canines, Rosie and Dazy.

The family will receive relatives and friends at Redeemer Lutheran Church on Friday, March 24, beginning at 10:00 am until the time of service at 11:00 am. Rev. Chad Ott, pastor, will officiate. Veteran’s honors will be accorded by members of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 380. A reception will follow in the church fellowship hall.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the United Sportsmen, Inc. Youth Program, W7689 Sportsman Club Road, Iron Mountain, MI 49801, in Dennis’ memory.

The Swanson-Lundquist Funeral Home is serving the family, where condolences may be expressed online at