OBITUARY: Dennis Lee Wagonschutz


Dennis Lee Wagonschutz, age 68, a resident of Columbia Tennessee, passed away peacefully on Thursday, March 17th, 2022, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center with his children at his side after a brief illness.

Dennis was born on September 8th, 1953, in Lansing, Michigan to the late Russell August Wagonschutz and Betty Jane (Sewell) Wagonschutz.

Dennis is survived by his son Robert Wagonschutz (Rebecca) of Columbia and daughter Chelsea Stewart (Jimmie) of Columbia, as well as grandchildren Robert Wagonschutz Jr., Kaitlyn Wagonschutz, Benjamin Wagonschutz, Marley Stewart, and Brody Stewart. Dennis has three living brothers, Charles Wagonschutz (Robyn) of Florida, Tom Wagonschutz (Cindy) of Michigan, and Roy Wagonschutz of Michigan. Dennis also had multiple living nieces and nephews.

Dennis was a graduate of St. Johns High School class of 1973.

Dennis was a proud veteran of the United States Navy serving from 1974 to 1980. Dennis’ greatest honor was serving as a machinist’s mate aboard the U.S.S. Truett (FF-1095) on her maiden voyage as the ship and crew participated in a “Unitas” deployment. In 1976, Dennis was inducted into the Order of Neptune where he became a trusty shellback on his tour around South America. Dennis reveled in talking about his time in the service as well as connecting with his former shipmates online.

Dennis was proud to be a long-time union man employed by General Motors. After years of constant layoffs, he was offered an opportunity for steady work by transferring to Spring Hill Tennessee in 1992 to work at the Saturn plant. In 2009, Dennis transferred to the General Motors Delta Plant in Michigan where he retired in 2015 after 25 years of service. After retiring, he relocated back to Columbia Tennessee to be closer to his children and grandchildren. For the remainder of his life, he would complain about all the foreign cars that would never get out of his way on the road.

Dennis was a proud father and grandfather who enjoyed spending time with his grandkids. Dennis was a fan of Hampshire Hawks baseball and volleyball where he never missed a chance to watch his grandchildren play. On sunny days, and sometimes not so sunny days, he could be found tending the grill with his grandchildren being taught how to make the perfect barbecue sauce and the importance of keeping the grill at the proper temperature. He loved fishing, cooking, camping, woodworking, and watching old westerns on tv. Dennis enjoyed passing on his knowledge to his family. Whenever he would find his kids or grandkids working on a project, he always gave advice on what tools would make their job easier and loved giving tips on how to square up their work.

Above all else, Dennis loved to talk about fishing. He could tell you about the best spots to go to find whatever fish you wanted. From catching walleye or salmon in the Northern waters of Michigan to crappie fishing around Tennessee. He loved to tell stories about going “up north” to catch salmon, trout, yellow perch, walleye, and to go smelt dipping.

Special thanks go to the staff of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Lung Transplant Program. Under their care, Dennis was able to spend six more years with his family.

Dennis will be deeply missed as days in the garage, around the grill, and at the fishing hole will never be the same. He had so much to offer and never asked for anything in return.

A funeral service will be held at Maury Memorial Gardens at a later time with military honors provided by the United States Navy.

“Gone Fishing”
I’ve finished life’s chores assigned to me,
So put me on a boat headed out to sea.
Please send along my fishing pole
For I’ve been invited to the fishin’ hole.
Where every day is a day to fish,
To fill your heart with every wish.
Don’t worry, or feel sad for me,
I’m fishin’ with the Master of the sea.
We will miss each other for awhile,
But you will come and bring your smile.
That won’t be long you will see,
Till we’re together you and me.
To all of those that think of me,
Be happy as I go out to sea.
If others wonder why I’m missin’
Just tell ‘em I’ve gone fishin’
— Dalmar Pepper


For more obituaries visit

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter!