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Riley Dennis

Riley Edward Dennis was born May 14, 1930 on Cagle Mountain, Tennessee. He celebrated his 89th birthday with his family at The Meadows in Nashville, where he resided from October 2018 until his peaceful death July 14, 2019. During his battle with brain cancer, he received wonderful and loving care at The Meadows. His nurses and care partners will always hold a warm and special place in his family’s heart.

He is survived by his adored wife of nine years, Colleen Elliott Dennis of Soddy Daisy, and his cherished daughter, Christiana (Christie) Dennis Ingram (Thomas R.) of Nashville.

Surviving loved ones also include his grandchildren, Eric (Cristina), Isaac (Bella), and Andra Ingram; great-grandchildren, Isabella, Francesca and Creed Riley Ingram; stepson, Timothy Elliott (Kimberly); former wife, Ina Dill Dennis; and countless beloved cousins, nieces and nephews.

Riley was preceded in death by his parents, Isaac Charles and Jane Seals Dennis; siblings Roy, Chester, Vera Skyles, and James; infant son, Bruce David with former wife Ina Dill Dennis; stepson John Elliott III; and wife, Arlene Crutchfield Dennis.

Riley’s loves included traveling across the United States in his motor home with beloved wife, “Babydoll”, and former furry companion, Shadow; taking walks and contemplating life with grandchildren; eating a hot, home-cooked meal with chilled peanut butter pie for dessert; playing a round of golf with friends on a warm spring day; enjoying the beautiful things in life, such as a humble affinity for collecting gemstones and coins; and generously giving to others without hesitation. Without a doubt, his greatest love and source of joy on earth was family, from grandparents to great-grandchildren. He will be terribly missed by his family and by several close friends.

Riley was the youngest of five children and was raised in a loving home, surrounded by the natural beauty of Cagle Mountain. He graduated from Sequatchie County High School in 1948 and from the University of Chattanooga in 1960, with a B.S. degree in Physics. He served in the Air Force from 1952 to 1956 in the Security Force, which helped advance his 36-year career at E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, as an electrical engineer and nuclear physicist (Chattanooga, Tennessee, Wilmington, Delaware, Charlotte, North Carolina). After retiring from DuPont in 1986, Riley utilized his outgoing personality to successfully delve into the world of real estate sales in Charlotte and Boone.

Being a natural-born, warm-hearted philanthropist, Riley eagerly served on mission trips, with his most memorable being a trip to Ghana, West Africa in 1984, sponsored by the Cedars church of Christ (Wilmington). He was also a founding member of two Christian schools, one in Wilmington and the other in Charlotte North Carolina, the later affiliated with Providence Road church of Christ. Riley’s great love for our Lord and his servant heart were evident as he humbly served as deacon and elder in several church of Christ congregations (Chattanooga, Newark, Charlotte). Since 2009, he had worshiped with the North Hamilton church of Christ in Soddy Daisy.

Riley’s deep love for the Lord remained true and was his comfort and joy until his last breath. His true legacy is that unconditional pure love that shined bright in his life and that he shared with countless souls whose lives he touched. Three of Riley’s most precious memories were of baptizing his grandchildren.

He loved to recite Psalm 23, his favorite scripture. The Lord is my Shepherd…

Funeral services were held Monday, July 22 in the funeral home chapel. Burial was in the Chattanooga National Cemetery with military honors.

Online condolences can be made at

Standefer-Reed Funeral Home of Dunlap was in charge of arrangements.

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