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Dr. Frances J. Denner

Posted September 19, 2013 in Obituaries, West Des Moines

July 8, 1929 – September 18, 2013

Dr. Francis Denner

Dr. Francis Denner

Dr. Francis Denner, 84, of West Des Moines, formerly of Fort Madison, died Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at Arbor Springs Care Center in West Des Moines. A funeral mass will be celebrated 9:30 am, Monday, September 23, 2013 at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in West Des Moines with Rev. Guthrie Dolan officiating. Burial will be at the Iowa Veteran Cemetery in Van Meter. Visitation with the family will be one hour prior to the service.

Francis was born July 8, 1929 in New Hampton, Iowa to Theodore and Angela Denner. On August 8, 1953, Francis was united in marriage to Dolores (Dee) Neuzil at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Iowa City. They recently celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.

After graduating from New Hampton High School in 1947, Francis attended Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa receiving a B.S. degree. The next four years he studied at the University of Iowa Dental College and received a D.D.S. degree in 1954.

This began Dr. Denner’s journey into the field of Dentistry. He served as a Dental Officer in the United States Army at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas and White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico and was discharged as a Captain. After service in the Army, he received a Post Graduate Residency in Prosthodontics at the Veterans Hospital in Iowa City. Then Dr. Denner owned a dental practice for 36 years in Fort Madison, Iowa. He loved his dental occupation and enjoyed working with his employees and doing dental treatment for the people in the Fort Madison and Illinois area. He served as a dentist at Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison before his retirement in 2004. He was President of the Fort Madison Dental Society, President of the S.E. Iowa District Dental Society, a certified Life Member of the Iowa Dental Association and a member of the American Dental Association.

In Fort Madison, Dr. Denner served on the First Parish Council at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, President of the St. Mary’s P.T.A., a member of the Aquinas School Board of Directors, chaired many Fund Raisers, a member of the Holy Family Parish, an Honorary Life Member of the Knights of Columbus and was recognized as a Fort Madison “Boss of the Year” in 1991. Dr. Denner and his wife moved to West Des Moines in 2010 to be near to their children because of his illness. In West Des Moines he was a member of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church.

Dr. Denner and his wife attended many of the American Dental Association Conventions in major cities throughout the United States, including Hawaii, during his professional career. He appreciated the enthusiasm and support from his wife helping with his dental profession. Many trips were taken with the Fort Madison Lee County Bank Passport Club. After Dr. Denner’s retirement, they spent part of the winters in Mesa, Arizona. One memorable trip in 2007 was a pilgrimage to Rome, Italy hosted by Father Rich Adam of the Davenport Diocese. Dr. Denner was a Chicago Cub and Iowa Hawkeye fan and enjoyed reading, playing golf and playing cards.

Dr. Denner is survived by his wife, Dolores (Dee) and his four children: Carol (Scott) Peterson of Cumming, Iowa, Julie (Terry) Hayes of Weatherford, Oklahoma, Kurt (Mary) Denner of Carmel, Indiana, Chris (Matt) McKenney of West Des Moines, Iowa. He was a devoted husband, father and grandfather and loved spending time with his family. His seven grandchildren are: Jay (Annie) Peterson, Dr. Kimberly (Bob) Gudenkauf, Jessica (Andy) Creach, Ben (Jayme) Hayes, Amy Denner, Caitlin McKenney and Jimmy McKenney. He has three great-grandchildren: Kaden and Hudson Creach and Vanna Peterson. He has several nieces and nephews, one brother-in-law and one sister-in-law.

Dr. Denner was preceded in death by his parents, a sister in infancy, his parents-in-law, two sisters-in-law and three brothers-in-law.

A special thanks to the staff of Arbor Springs for the loving care and compassion they provided to Dr. “Frank” and his family.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be directed to St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church or Lewy Body Dementia Association in care of Westover Funeral Home 6337 Hickman Road, Des Moines, Iowa 50322. On-line condolences are welcome at


Information provided by:
Iles Funeral Homes
Westover Chapel
6337 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA 50322

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