American Patriotic 10

Dennis "Denny" Glenn Kleitz

May 27, 1947 ~ October 3, 2021 (age 74)


Dennis G. Kleitz, 74, of Summerfield, Florida, formerly of Elkhart, Indiana, was tragically killed on October 3, 2021, while riding his Harley in Lake County, Florida. He was born in Elkhart on May 27, 1947. He was raised by his beloved grandparents, William and Edna Huff, and later by his Aunt Ruthie Mansfield. During his childhood he spent a lot of time with his siblings and many cousins. They kept their grandparents busy and had many memorable fun times together.

Denny married Linda Wilson in Elkhart on April 18, 1969.  They were life-long residents of Elkhart until they moved to Florida in 2015, which had been a dream of his for many years.

Linda survives along with two daughters, Tamara Butler of Knoxville, TN and Jennifer (Adam) Horn of Land O Lakes, FL. Also surviving are 5 grandchildren, Olivia, Andrew, and Abigail Butler, and Sarah and Brady Horn, all who were his pride and joy. A brother, Oscar Kleitz, and a sister, Darline Milbourn, preceded him in death. Surviving are 2 brothers, Larry (Melissa) Kleitz and Raymond (Karen) Kleitz, and a sister, Donna Wheeler (deceased Jan. 26, 2022). Denny was very close with Linda’s family.  Her parents, Mahlon and Doris Wilson, preceded him in death. Linda’s siblings, Paul (Linda) Wilson, Charles “Chuck” (Sylvia) Wilson and Janet (Kevin) Young survive.

Denny was a member of the Elkhart Drillmasters Junior Rifle Drill Team in his teenage years and received many first-place awards in competitions in Indiana and Michigan. He joined the U.S. Army after graduating from Elkhart High School in 1965. He served with the 1st Calvary in the Artillery Division in the Vietnam war. Denny worked as a mechanic for Lochmandy Motors and in the RV industry, then as an “over the road” truck driver for Easco Aluminum/Indalex in Elkhart and Stripco in Mishawaka.  He retired in 2010.  During his 35-year career as a truck driver he logged millions of miles with no major accidents, received many safe driver awards, and made friends all over the country. 

Throughout his life Denny worked hard and played hard. He most loved spending time with his family whether it was mowing the yard with a grandchild on his lap, playing games, or teaching them valuable life skills. He and Linda enjoyed many summers relaxing and entertaining family and friends around their backyard pool. The grandkids were taught how to swim in their pool at an early age and Papa made the best lemonade and mac and cheese. 

Denny enjoyed traveling with his wife and relaxing on the beach, especially Madeira Beach, Florida where he and Linda owned a timeshare and visited every year since 1992. Denny played like a child at Disney World, water parks, or a pick-up game of basketball with his children and grandchildren.  He found peace riding his Harley on backroads on a beautiful day, which is how he spent his last moments of life. Denny was very patriotic and proud of his service to his country and in Vietnam. He never missed an opportunity to approach a stranger in uniform or other clothing indicating military affiliation to shake their hand, thank them for their service, and share stories. 

Denny was a very loving and devoted husband and in their retirement he and Linda were inseparable.  They celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2019 on a Caribbean cruise. Denny was kind and generous. He would drive two hours or two days to help a friend or family member in need or to show support for his grandchildren in their activities. He loved fiercely and genuinely, never leaving any doubt how much his family meant to him. His unexpected and sudden death has shattered the hearts of those who loved him, but his legacy lives on in each of them.

In accordance with Denny’s wishes, he has been cremated. Please join us in remembrance and celebration of his life on April 16, 2022, at Walley-Mills-Zimmerman Funeral Home in Elkhart. Visitation will be from 1-3 pm, followed by a funeral service and military honors. The service will be officiated by his friend, Dave Pasechnik. Come as you are, dress up or wear your favorite patriotic or Harley Davidson t-shirt. 

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