Dennis was born and raised in Ladysmith with his brothers Mel, Mark, Timothy, sister Audrey and parents Cecil and Betty Van Wey. After his high school graduation he attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania. His career was in academics, primarily at Mount Senario College. He began his service there as a counselor in Student Support Services in 1986. He resurrected the Career Development Center at the college in the mid 90’s assisting students with necessary job seeking skills. His final position was as counselor and student advocate for the students until the college’s closing in 2002.
Dennis’s faith deeply guided his life. He was active in Our Lady of Sorrows and the local Knights of Columbus. He was President of the Greater Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce 2002-2005. He was one of the original members of the Rusk County Community Foundation guiding the organization through the onerous complexities of starting a community foundation. His life was about service. Last, but not least, he was a HUGE Star Trek fan.
As a founding member of Rusk County Community Foundation, Dennis was familiar with legacy charitable giving. He wanted to make one final gift which expressed his faith in Christ and his life of service. At his initiative, the paperwork on the Dennis Van Wey Legacy Fund was created only a few months before his death ensuring his memorial.
As an endowed “forever” fund, Dennis’s annual distribution from this fund is granted to the Knights of Columbus Charity Account. They will use 80% of the fund’s earnings for the KC’s activities and 20% for scholarships for low-income students to attend Our Ladys of Sorrows School. Dennis’ specific instructions were to “help the poor.” This fund has been granting annually since 2013.
If Dennis were alive today, he would advise that “time is of the essence.” When he had a health scare, it prompted him to arrange his estate to align with his bequest wishes. A few months later he died.