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Dennis H. Smith

02/04/1943 - 07/16/2019
Service Date: 07/24/2019
Service Time: 10 AM
Service Location: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 18th Ward
Visitation Date: 07/23/2019
Visitation Time: 6-8 PM
Visitation Location: Bunker's Garden Chapel, 33 North Centennial Way, Mesa, Arizona 85201
Interment: City of Mesa Cemetery, 8 AM Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Dennis H. Smith, born on February 4, 1943, was called home on July 16, 2019. His good humor and sweet personality, and also his love of the Dodgers, endeared him to everyone he met. Dennis worked for over 40 years for the Church Educational System of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His gospel knowledge was practically unparalleled, and he shared it willingly and frequently. The love he had for others, especially his family and his beloved wife, Sue, was extraordinary. He will be missed by Sue, daughter Kristin, son-in-law Chris, and all of his family- 4 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren. They will always remember their “Papa”.

We are celebrating his life by having a visitation with the family (honoring his wishes to have a closed casket) Tuesday, July 23, 2019 from 6-8 PM at Bunker’s Garden Chapel, 33 N. Centennial Way, Mesa, AZ 85201. We will start Wednesday, July 24, 2019 at 8 AM with a graveside service at the City of Mesa Cemetery, 1212 North Center Street, Mesa, AZ 85201. A Life Celebration will follow at 10 AM at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located at 2228 East Brown Road, Mesa, AZ 85213.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the BYU Pathway Program in honor of his 40 years of service with the Church Education System (https://give.lds.org/byu-pathway).



  • I’m very saddened by this news. My thoughts and prayers go out to you, Sue and Kristin. He will be greatly missed!

  • Carol Fugit Parmley

    My deepest sympathies. I know how loved and missed he will be. He was instrumental in shaping my 20 something self as a teacher and later in my employer. He brought church history to life for me, as a new convert and helped me see my potential. I have been so very blessed to have been influenced by the Smith family. Love to you all. Remember the joyful times while you wait to be reunited once again.

    Love and prayers,

  • I personally did not know Dennis but my thoughts are with the family. It looked like he was someone who really loved people and cared for his family. I hope you can find comfort where I too have found in the past, 2 Cor. 1:4 “Who comforts us in all our trials so that we may be able to comfort others in any sort of trail with the comfort that we receive from God.”

  • What was there not to like about Dennis Smith? Getting him to love you was easy; it was the default setting. In fact, each person who knew Denny felt he or she was his special friend. One fact was clear. The LOVE of his love was Sue! In reality, part of the magnetism that attracted folks to one or the other of the Smith team was the sheer devotion and love they felt for one another.

    Another wonderful trait was Den Smith was never afraid of teenagers or young adults. They meant the world to him. He was demonstrative to them, and they, in turn, allowed him to share their world.

    Did I mention he was a wonderful father? Many people felt beholden to him like a father. Kristin affirmed her dad was the real deal. And sometimes parents are extraordinarily blessed to bear children who virtually raise themselves. We should be so fortunate to parent such a terrific daughter!

    Many regard Brother Smith with uncanny smarts and an unstoppable wit. He did not feel unstoppable or extraordinary. In fact, his unassuming humility had a sweetness about it. Den could learn because he was willing to lean into knowledge.

    When he was called to be our bishop, Dick Seipp and I thrilled to be his counselors. In his nascent days as bishop, Denny saw the hope and potential in others more than he may have seen in himself. In the early going he told us of a member who came in for counseling “for serious challenges.” He reported to us he listened intently because the individual began the interview saying, “I do not know what to do, but you will because you are my bishop. And she pulled out a pencil and paper to take careful notes.”

    No pressure there—only for the man who sat across from the individual seeking to know how God would have her proceed.

    “What was I to say?” Bishop Smith asked. “I listened, and I strove to listen to what God may tell me. I had no idea how to solve these problems.”

    These kinds of experiences steeled our loving mentor. Months later, we saw it. I commented on family situation about which I had some knowledge. Bishop Smith let me finish my thought, then he said, “Gerald, it is exactly the opposite you describe.” And he told me why things were contrary to what I saw, and why what I had observed was merely on the surface.

    It did not take long for me to discover he was exactly right. In time, he learned to lean into knowledge and became an astute judge of character and intent. With his unvarnished love, quick smile and bear hugs, I admired his wisdom, and I have cherished his memory all of my adult life. And even though, and especially though he is not with us for the moment, I shall cherish him all the more.

  • Dawnie Campbell (formerly Dawn Dessau)

    I am so sad to hear about the passing of Bishop Smith. I was doing a random online search for Sue & Dennis and came across this obituary. Dennis was my first Bishop when I was a teenager. She and Dennis showed me so much care, love and support. I would not be the woman I am today without their great influence in my life and in my heart. I extend my heartfelt condolences to Sue, to Kristin and to the rest of the family.

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