Obituary: Dennis Sperl, 79


April 20, 2023

Dennis Sperl

Long-time Petersburg resident Dennis Sperl survived a near fatal stroke in March of 2015, but returned home to make the most of eight "bonus years" with dear family, friends, and caretakers before succumbing to a brief illness on April 13, 2023.

Dennis was born in Bremerton, Washington, on September 3, 1943 to Clara and Walter Sperl and his older brother David. A sister, Moretta, joined her two older brothers a couple of years later.

In 1946 the Sperls moved to Juneau where Walter worked as the mailboat captain and Clara worked to create a home full of love, hard work, and adventure. Soon after the move, the addition of brother Donald completed the family.

Dennis graduated from Juneau Douglas High School in 1961 and from the University of Fairbanks in 1966.

While in Fairbanks, Dennis met Dorothy Bentley. They married in his parents' home in Juneau in 1966. They moved to Petersburg where Dennis coached, taught school, and fished in the summers.

In the late 1970s Dennis began fishing full-time, but continued to work and volunteer in the community of Petersburg as a kids' coach and a sports announcer. He loved to donate his time and efforts within the community.

Dennis was loved by many. To some he was Dad or Papa, to others, Coach or Mr. Sperl.

Dennis had a strong faith and was an Elder of the Bible Study group in the church. He loved God, his family, his community, fishing, hunting, gardening, sports, and good food. He told great stories and published two books about growing up living in Southeast Alaska. He also wrote poetry and bible riddles and loved to sing hymns.

Dennis lost his brother Donald in 1968 and his parents in 2010 and 2012. His and Dorothy's youngest child, Bentley, passed away in 2015.

Dennis is survived by his brother David (Ann) Sperl and sister Moretta (Kiel) Rieger; children, Tamsann Sperl, Donald (Tausha) Sperl, Emilie Sperl, Garnett (Mark) Coonrad, and Summer (Dan) Baxter; grandchildren, Chevelle, Versace, Kelsa (Wolf), Koren (Savannah), Kole (Sage), Klaire, Klay, Joshua, Kendra, Samantha, Micah, Jebediah, Alexis, Thomas, Cailynn, Kerra, and Archer.

Friends, family, and others who have a special place for Dennis in their heart are invited to gather at 3:00 p.m. on April 22 at the Sons of Norway Hall in Petersburg. Those who would like to may bring a dish for the potluck to follow.

In place of flowers, donations may be made at First Bank to assist the family with funeral expenses. Remaining funds will be donated to a cause that Dennis supported.


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