Cover photo for Dennis L. Wilson's Obituary
Dennis L. Wilson Profile Photo

Dennis L. Wilson

d. January 9, 2022

Dennis L. Wilson, age 71, of Athens, passed away on Sunday, January 9, 2022, at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, IL after a brief and courageous fight with cancer.

Dennis was born July 7, 1950 in Springfield, IL to Carl Leamon and Ora Pearl Boyer Wilson of Petersburg. He was the youngest of seven children, six having survived to adulthood, and was doted on by his sisters to the point of when he had whooping cough at age seven, one saved her lunch money to buy him a tea set so that he would take his medicine.

He graduated from PORTA High School in 1968 and received his love letter from the federal government inviting him to the Vietnam War in 1969. Knowing that he was terribly afraid of heights and claustrophobic, he selected the 82nd Airborne Division of the US Army to (unsuccessfully) overcome those fears and of course, paratroopers were just cooler and paid better. It has been said that he had an amazing and much coveted handlebar mustache during his military service, but photo proof cannot be found.

After the service, Dennis came back to Petersburg where, through mutual friends, he met and married Rebecca “Becky” Aiken on October 13, 1973, whom he said was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, and she remained his greatest coup until his last breath. They have one daughter, Denelle “Deni” Wilson of Athens, who gave Dennis his absolute best friend, his grandson, Connor Andrew “Andy” Wilson.

Dennis worked for the Illinois Department of Transportation/Division of Highways for 34 years and retired as a Lead Worker for Mason and Menard counties in 2008. He loved to tell the stories of plowing snow during the blizzards of the 1970’s and 1980’s; especially the one where he plowed the same snow from the same storm for weeks due to ever shifting winds. He was the best GPS and could tell you how to get anywhere in the US on any road and was always asked for directions anywhere he went, even if he had never been to the destination himself.

He loved to travel with his family and spend the winters in Arizona hanging out with his pals in the neighborhood. He was overjoyed when he was able to reconnect with his high school buddy, John Boeker, and attend drag races, car shows, and continue the fifty plus year debate about Chevy versus Ford.

Dennis was extensively involved in the community over the years; serving as Cubmaster for Athens Pack 52, Assistant Scoutmaster for Athens Boy Scout Troop 52, and was Unit Commissioner for the Abraham Lincoln Council. While Cubmaster, at one point he was so successful in recruiting boys into the scouting program that there were more boys in the school district in scouts than not. Dennis was also a member of the Menard County American Legion Post #129 and served in a variety of positions.

Above all, Dennis lived his life to be with his little family and to take care of them.

Dennis is preceded in death by his parents Carl and Ora Pearl Boyer Wilson, two brothers, Daniel Carl Wilson of Petersburg and Larry Wilson of Florida, one sister, Dixie Harris of Florida, and an infant sister, Mary Lorraine Wilson.

Devastated by his passing are his wife Becky, daughter Deni of Athens, grandson Andy, and Logan Dowell of Noblesville, IN, grand-pup’s, Harper Lee and Zelda Fitzgerald, grand-cat’s Shelby Cobra, Luna, and Cece. Dennis also leaves behind two of his oldest sisters, Clara Taylor and Helen Barbee of Petersburg, as well as many nieces and nephews that he adored.

Visitation will be Thursday, January 13, 2022 from 11am-1pm.  Burial will be at Camp Butler National Cemetery with military honors.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Menard County American Legion Post #129 or to the Menard County Animal Control for pet adoptions.

Mott & Henning Funeral Home is assisting the family. On-line condolences can be shared at


  1. My deepest and sincerest condolences to the Wilson family. Although only knowing Dennis for a few years, I saw him as a wonderful individual, loving husband, father and grandfather. Cherish your memories as it will help with the pain during this time.

  2. I am so sorry to hear of his passing. I knew him as a very kind and generous man. I am thinking about your family.

  3. My sincere condolences to the entire Wilson Family. I was so very sorry to hear of the untimely death of Dennis and am deeply saddened for your family. I send my deepest and sincere sympathy to all of you.

  4. I was a classmate and friend of Dennis. My thoughts and prayers to his family and friends. He always had way to make you laugh and a joy to be around. His out look on life was always positive while imaging what laid ahead of him in the future. Dennis is what we call one if the good ” guys “! RIP Dennis

  5. Dennis’ passing was such sad news to hear. I can’t imagine how you’re coping with it except for the love of family and friends surrounding you. I’m so glad you’ve had these last 49 years to build that strong foundation together. May God bless and comfort you in the days ahead.



  6. We are so sorry to see this. Dennis was one of the best and will be missed by many. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. 🤗🙏 The Boensels

  7. We are so sorry for the lose to the Wilson family and friends. He was an absolute genuine family man and we know that he’ll be greatly missed by all of you. Thoughts and prayers to you Becky, Deni and Andy
    Love you

  8. What a wonderful obituary. So sorry to hear of Dennis’ passing. Although I married-in to the family, Dennis never let me feel that way. He was just a wonderful (adopted) uncle and just a great person. Condolences to the Wilson family.

  9. So sorry for your loss. I pray for comfort in this hurting time.

  10. Becky and Denni,
    How to begin. All of us have come to know and respect Dennis and you both through our years together in the warm embrace of the IDOT family. While we left the snow removal to the capable hand of Dennis, we grew to be fond of each other and Dennis (who always had a smile on his face) and built lasting friendships together. This bond we have all shared makes this moment in time all the more poignant and hard to accept. Please know we are with you and always ready help you through this sadness in any way we are able. Ellen and Tom

  11. Becky, Deni and Andy –

    You can be sure that “Pa” loved you all fiercely. He always made me laugh Such a fun and neat person to have known. Take peace in the fact he lived a great life. With no shortage of love for him and he knew that. Hugs to you all.

  12. Becky and family. I am so sorry for your loss. Peace and prayers for all. You have so many precious memories to cherish! He was a wonderful man and accomplished many good things. God bless🙏🎚

  13. I am so sorry for your loss. I just can’t believe he’s gone. Dennis was one of a kind. My heart goes out to you and yours.

  14. Becky, Deni, Andy, Logan, beloved Fur Family, and Family, I’m so sorry to hear about the passing of Dennis. Although it’s difficult today to see beyond the deep sorrow, I hope the special memories you have made together help you find peace and comfort during this difficult time.

  15. Becky & Deni,

    Our Deepest Sympathy & Condolences for the loss of Dennis. You both are in our hearts in this recent sad turn of events.

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