Dennis Leroy Myers, a native son of Taft, passed away on Jan. 29 in his home in Southern California, with his wife and two adult children close at hand.
Dennis was born in Taft in 1941 to Muriel Varley and Leroy Myers, and had a younger brother, Dallas. Dennis graduated from Taft Union High in 1959 and enrolled at Santa Monica Community College, where he played trombone and marched with the band in the Rose Parade.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army the following year, on a dare from his closest high school friends, Ken Knost and Baxter Culver, who later joined him in Germany. Assigned to the Army Security Agency, Dennis was stationed at an intelligence listening post near East Germany, where he monitored Cold War communications and had a front row seat during the construction of the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Following his military service from 1960-1963, Dennis returned home and enrolled at Taft College. He later transferred to UCLA where he met his future wife, Kathy, at a school dance. After graduating in 1967 with a BA in Psychology, Dennis remained a proud Bruin for the rest of his life.
Dennis and Kathy were married in 1967 and spent nine years establishing themselves in their careers and traveling widely before settling down to welcome a daughter, Kimberly, followed two years later by a son, Eric.
After completing Loyola Law School in 1972, Dennis began his law career in the Los Angeles County Counsel’s Office, providing protective services to abused and neglected children.
In 1979, Dennis moved his young family to the high desert town of Big Pine, CA, where he would serve as the county counsel for Inyo County for 8 years. The couple loved raising their family in the picturesque and tight-knit Big Pine community and treasured the lifelong friendships they made there.
While in Inyo County, Dennis was part of the legal team that won a historic water agreement between the LA Dept. of Water and Power and the Owens Valley. He also defended the county in a federal lawsuit, Brower vs. County of Inyo, that was later heard by the U.S. Supreme Court and led to a re-evaluation of law enforcement roadblocks.
In 1987, Dennis became the county counsel of Merced County. During his 16 years’ service, he advised the Board of Supervisors and was the lead attorney representing the county in all legal matters. He was instrumental in helping the University of California obtain land rights to establish UC Merced.
After retiring in 2003, Dennis continued to practice municipal law part-time as the city attorney for his hometown of Atwater. He was a resident of Atwater for 33 years and well-known in the local community.
Dennis enjoyed traveling and embarked on adventures around the globe, including a road trip to Alaska, a safari in Botswana, a bus tour of Russia, and a river cruise in England, along with regular family beach vacations.
He also loved dancing, skiing, playing golf, birdwatching, researching genealogy, attending Dixieland Jazz and theater festivals, competing with his brother at Trivial Pursuit, and always having the latest tech gadgets. He was a ham radio enthusiast, a member of the Lions, Masons, and American Legion, and a passionate UCLA sports fan.
A lifelong Democrat, Dennis had strong opinions but kept an open mind and enjoyed lively political discussions. He was extremely gregarious and had a great sense of humor. But most of all, Dennis loved spending time with his family – he was a very supportive and proud father and grandfather.
Toward the end of his life, Dennis suffered from dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Despite this, he remained devoted to his wife and family, and unfailingly courteous to everyone around him.
Dennis is survived by his wife of 53 years, Kathleen, his children, Kim and Eric, and his brother, Dallas. He also leaves behind a son-in-law, Ian, a daughter-in-law, Laura, and three grandchildren, Elise (13), Annika (9), and Luke (7). Dennis was deeply loved and will be greatly missed.
Published on March 03, 2021