Dennis (Denny/Den) Frank Petek, 80, dies

Dennis (Denny/Den) Frank Petek, 80, passed away peacefully at home in the presence of family on October 31, 2015.
He was preceded in death by his son, Timothy Dennis Petek, who passed after a battle with cancer 29 years prior on October 31, 1986. His younger sister, Nancy Sullivan, and parents Gertrude (Koffica) and Frank John Petek also preceded him.
He is survived by his daughters: Debra Stafford and Julie Colliton; son, Michael Petek, and grandchildren: Rachel, Dylan, Bethany, Brenna, Timothy, Mathew, Kyla, and Cynis.
Denny was born on June 19, 1935 in Ely, Minnesota. His maternal grandparents were Finnish and his paternal grandparents were Slovenian.
Black powder headaches related to mining caused his father, Frank, to relocate the family to Spokane, Washington, leaving beloved Ely, family and friends behind prior to Denny’s senior year of high school.
After graduating from North Central High School, he married Vianne West who became the mother of his four children.
He was guided to Gonzaga University by his father and was a pitcher for the Gonzaga Bulldogs Baseball team. He graduated with his Bachelor’s Degree in teaching.
Denny was employed by Kaiser Aluminum and then became a teacher and athletic coach for Spokane Public Schools.
An opportunity arose and he became Alumni Director at Gonzaga University. In addition he got into contracting and became President of the Home Builders Association. He was also a longtime member of the Knights of Columbus. He returned to Shadle Park High School as a history teacher and softball coach until his retirement.
He adored his mother and was always getting away with things as a little boy. He referred to himself as “Dennis the Menace.” Friends recollected him as charming, witty, handsome, and competitive, a baseball and basketball player. He was an ardent WSU Cougar football fan after watching his son Tim play. He loved outdoor adventures with his grandfather and appreciated his mother’s, aunts’, and grandmothers’ traditional Slovenian/Finnish cooking. His favorite color, blue, yet every shade of rose he enjoyed, “except red,” reminded him of his mother’s rose garden.
He made friends easily, enjoyed teasing, assigning nicknames, and laughter. He said “I regret we have not laughed enough.” He loved his family. He was a believer.
There will be a visitation at Hennessey Funeral Home on Friday, Nov. 20 from 1-4 p.m. and a Rosary at St. Anthony’s Church at 7 p.m. Funeral Service will be held at St. Anthony’s Church at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 21, with a reception following at Knights of Columbus on Gonzaga’s Campus.
A special thank you to Care to Stay Home and Hospice of Spokane for your honesty, integrity, dignity, and gentleness.
Please visit Denny’s online memorial at