Dennis Charles Marquis
1934 – 2019
Dennis Charles Marquis passed away August 18, 2019 in Ocala, Fla., after a series of health challenges. Dennis lived a life of richness in family, friends, professional accomplishments, and travel. He and his wife June Harrington Marquis have been members of the Chatham community since 1978. Dennis was born in Lima, Ohio, to Tom and Ethel Marquis. He attended Stetson University, majoring in physics, and it is there that he fell head over heels for June-Alyce Harrington. They married in 1956 and, in 1960, Dennis and June seized the opportunity offered by the nation’s new space program and headed to Florida’s Space Coast. Dennis’s technical ability and natural leadership let to his substantial contributions to the space program, particularly in infrared, advanced optics, and early work on lasers and over-the-horizon sensors. Dennis was active in civic leadership through Kiwanis and the First United Methodist Church in Melbourne. He continued his civic leadership throughout his life, as the unofficial “mayor” of the Truro subdivision in Northern Virginia and the “Bunmaster” Friday nights at the Lobster Roll supper at the First Methodist Church in Chatham.
In 1968, Dennis and June and their four daughters moved to the Washington, D.C. suburbs where Dennis held several positions in the Department of Defense with responsibilities including oversight of major DoD ranges and test facilities around the globe and the U.S. lead for NATO and international command, control, and intelligence programs. Dennis’s greatest leadership contributions were at NATO’s SHAPE Technical Centre, the technical research, development, and testing organization supporting NATO’s military command. Serving first in the 1970s as a division director for command and control systems, he returned as Director of STC in 1989, and Dennis and June began their second tour in the Netherlands.
Dennis and June were married for 57 years. They traveled throughout the world from their early years together. Wherever he lived, Dennis was known as a “car nut,” working in his white t-shirt underneath their latest Oldsmobile, driving his Toyota Supra across Europe, watching NASCAR with young daughters on his knees, and reading car magazines in his last home in The Villages, Fla. Most of all, Dennis and June were known as the ultimate gracious host and hostess, famous for their dinner parties. Throughout all the professional moves, Dennis and June were loving parents to their daughters, whether in Florida, Virginia, the Netherlands, or their home-away from home in Chatham. Dennis and June were active summer members of the First United Methodist Church and, after June’s passing in 2012, Dennis continued to be part of the community with his partner Joan Spires. After June’s passing in 2012, Dennis moved to The Villages in Florida but continued to return to Chatham each summer. Dennis’s life is celebrated by his daughters Susan Marquis, Carol Auerbach, Jill Milliken, and Lisa Marquis, grandchildren Kevin, Cate, Emily, Alex, and Jack; sons-in-law Chris Thompson, Craig Auerbach, Sean Milliken, and daughter-in-law Merryll McElwain.
Dennis’s family and friends will celebrate his life on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019 at First United Methodist Church, 110 E New Haven Ave, Melbourne, Florida www.firstchurchmelbourne.com. Donations in lieu of flowers may be sent to The First Methodist Church (in Chatham), Christ Church Alexandria (Virginia) or Hospice of Marion County (Florida).
Dennis Charles Marquis