Dennis Einar Dahl, our loving husband, father, grandfather, passed away peacefully of natural causes on February 12, 2021. He was 81. Dennis was born November 18, 1939 in Murray, Utah, to Einar Dahl and Florence Ann Bogden. He spent his early years in Sandy, moving to Clearfield in 3rd grade. He spent summers working on his grandparent’s sugar beet farm and orchard. He learned the value of hard work, perseverance, and completing a task. Part of his pay was in school clothes, which may have influenced his later popularity. In Junior High, he was elected class president and began participating in sports. At Davis High School, Dennis ran track as well as playing basketball and football. By his senior year, he held school track records and was on the relay team that won back-to-back State Championships, as well as being captain of the football and basketball teams. When he graduated in 1958, he added the Barnes Award for Outstanding Student Athlete, Class Valedictorian and Eagle Scout to his growing list of accomplishments. After High School, he attended Weber State Junior College on a sports scholarship where he played football and ran track, setting new school records. He was also a member of the Sigma Delta Pi Fraternity. Throughout this time, Dennis made numerous friends from all walks of life due to his quiet, friendly nature. He had a genuine desire to understand and help others and made life-long connections.
After Weber State Junior College, he attended the University of Utah and graduated cum laude in Political Science and History in 1962. That same year, he married Janet Smith of Ogden, UT whom he had met while attending Weber State. They had 2 children during their marriage: Heidi and Erik. After their divorce, Dennis married Nancy Gold in the early 1970s whom he subsequently divorced.
Dennis received his Law degree from the U of U School of Law in 1965, passed the state bar exam and began practicing law. Eventually, he was licensed to practice in Utah, California, Arizona and Idaho. After graduating from the forensic science program at Bates College in 1975, he began work as a criminal defense attorney, specializing in constitutional law issues. During his career, he wrote briefs and argued cases before the Securities and Exchange Commission, Utah Supreme Court, the Tenth Circuit Court, and the US Supreme Court. Many of the cases had constitutional law implications. His work resulted in better rights for defendants and improved laws in criminal procedure.
Throughout his life, he had a love of books and read voraciously. He had interests in a broad range of topics – early American history and the Constitution, Constitutional law and interpretation, theology and faith, forensics, Supreme Court and judicial issues, the Classics, presidential lives, mysteries, novels, and more. His other activities included lifelong love of running which resulted in his participation in several marathons and even longer races.
In 2000, he was introduced to Barbara Suflita. They made an immediate connection and were married on May 2, 2003. Together they enjoyed traveling, with cruises to Hawaii, Alaska, and Nova Scotia, and attending live theatre. He developed a loving relationship with Barbara’s children. Her handicapped son Jared lived with them for 9 years. Dennis was there for her daughters’ weddings and the birth of 6 grandchildren. He reconnected with his own children during this time.
Soon after their marriage, he became active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His reading topics now included Church doctrine and history. He served in the Salt Lake Temple, where he and Barbara were sealed in 2018. Following nearly 10 years of temple service, he served a mission at Welfare Square working with the homeless population, then added a Pathway Mission, serving alongside Barbara. As his health issues became more demanding, Barbara stepped in as his nurse, giving care that extended his life. Their companionship was healing for both of them. They spent this Covid year together quietly at home or visiting doctors. He kept his mind sharp reading, doing daily crossword puzzles, and writing in his journal. He never complained and managed to maintain a cheerful optimism to the end.
We celebrated his 80th birthday in 2019 with a big party. He was blessed to be surrounded by old friends from High School and College as well as family and church friends. It was an evening for him to reconnect and enjoy some wonderful memories with people who had shared his life.
Dennis is survived by his wife Barbara S Dahl, daughter Heidi Rees (Matt) of Elizabeth, CO, son Erik Dahl (Jamie) of Palominas, AZ, Barbara’s daughters Barbara Ann Lundberg (Russell) and Jennifer Coon (Joshua), 10 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Preceded in death by his parents and Barbara’s handicapped son Jared Suflita. We do not know where his sister Deanna resides, but believe she is still living.
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