Dennis Mack Pickering left this life peacefully on Sunday, November 12, 2023 at the age of 91, surrounded by loved ones. He was born October 3, 1932 in Payson, Utah to Victor Mack Pickering and Lucy Spencer Pickering. He had one brother, Tony, who was nine years his junior. Dennis spent much of his childhood years in Payson developing a love for the outdoors that he would continue to enjoy throughout his life.
Dennis graduated from Payson High School in 1950 and immediately enlisted in the United States Air Force shortly before his 18th birthday where he served as a military police officer. After his honorable discharge in 1954, Dennis returned to Utah where he studied for a year at Brigham Young University.
During that same time period, Dennis met Sheila Averett, while she was working at her parents’ dairy freeze in Springville. For him, it was love at first sight, and he worked hard, with the help of Sheila’s parents and sisters, to persuade her to date and eventually marry him. They were married on November 7, 1957 in Springville, where they lived and raised their family together for the next 66 years. In February 1962, they were sealed together in the Manti temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In marrying Sheila, Dennis truly gained another family. Her parents, Reed and Gladys Averett, loved Dennis immediately and they, along with Sheila’s sisters and their spouses, would continue to be some of Dennis’ closest and most treasured friends throughout his life.
In 1966, Dennis was able to fulfill his dream of becoming a private pilot and spent the next several years flying throughout the western United States for work and recreation. He loved to fly! Dennis had many other hobbies and passions which included many beloved horses, dogs, and cats that he trained and cared for throughout his life. He had a talent for craftsmanship and was something of an odd inventor. His children and grandchildren were often amused by his creative solutions to commonly overlooked problems, taking particular delight in his clothing modifications that often had an avant garde flare.
Dennis was continually working on improvements to their home and garden, which was peaceful gathering place enjoyed by many and even featured in garden shows. He discovered and developed a great talent for pottery later in life, through which he blessed the lives of countless students, family members, and art aficionados. Dennis and Sheila have treasured their relationships with countless friends that they have made over their long lifetime. Over the years, their home has increasingly become a place that people, especially family, have wanted to gather.
Dennis’ greatest passion of all was the love of his life, Sheila, and all of their children and grandchildren. Dennis adored Sheila and was her biggest supporter and cheerleader. He always wanted her nearby and relished in being able to make her laugh. The passage of time only strengthened his bond with each of his five children. He was so proud of every one of his children and grandchildren and loved hearing and talking about all the things they were doing. In the eyes of his grandchildren, it would be an understatement to say Dennis possessed a quirky combination of traits—unreserved silliness, unexpected vulnerability, unabashed individuality, and unintentional coolness—that created a strong bond of endearment with all of them.
Dennis is survived by his wife, Sheila; his children and their spouses, Craig (Denise) Pickering; Amy (Bob) Wylie; Jeannie (David) Bate; Peggy (Richard) Case; Maryann (Mark) Wilson; 18 grandchildren (and many spouses); 33 great-grandchildren; his sisters-in-law, Andrea Pickering, Karma (Michael) Farrer, Carolyn (Kent) Murdock, Peggy Roundy; and his aunt, Coleen Morgan. He was preceded in death by his parents, Sheila’s parents, and his beloved brother Tony.
A funeral to honor Dennis’ life will be held Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at 1:00pm at the Spring Creek 3rd Ward church building at 55 North Main St. in Springville. A viewing will take place from 10:00am to 12:30pm, prior to the service. The services will also be transmitted via live broadcast on YouTube by Wheeler Mortuary. Interment, with military rights, will take place in the Springville Evergreen Cemetery immediately following the funeral.
Condolences may be sent at www.wheelermortuary.com.
Dennis Pickering(After conversion).mp3