Nov 14, 1942---Jul 06, 2024

Roeland Park, Kansas - Dennis Charles Rues, 81 (and a half) passed away on July 6, 2024 after a long and courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. 

Dennis was born on November 14, 1942 in the same Greeley, Kansas farmhouse where his mother had been born. His parents, Henry and Martina (Egidy) Rues, had deep roots in that rural community, but as Henry’s career evolved, they moved from the area, finally landing in Roeland Park, Kansas in 1956. 

His formal education began and ended in Catholic schools starting at St. John the Baptist School in Greeley. He graduated from Bishop Miege High School (1960), attended St. Benedict’s College in Atchison, Kansas, and later entered the seminary at Conception Abbey. Prior to taking his ordination vows, he made the decision to leave the seminary, and entered the U.S. Air Force to become a pilot. 

In some ways, he was forever a good-natured boy from Kansas, but his life reflected his desire to explore the world beyond his hometown. 

Always up for an adventure, Dennis loved flying and sailing. He served our country for 21 years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, where he flew everything from fighter jets to massive refueling tankers and reconnaissance aircraft. His duty stations included: RAF Mildenhall (England), Grissom AFB (Indiana), Offutt AFB (Nebraska), Craig AFB (Alabama), and Barksdale AFB (Louisiana). 

After retirement from the Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel, he flew for commercial airlines, and with his eye on his second retirement, he purchased a 42-foot sailboat he dubbed “Indulgence” with the intention of sailing to the Bahamas to relax and enjoy the sea. Life doesn’t always go according to plan, and he landed instead in Islamorada, Florida where he served as a boat captain in the Sea Base High Adventure program through the Boy Scouts of America. 

At his heart, Dennis was also a (mostly) self-taught musician. His musical life began with the accordion in his late childhood, and evolved to include a love of acoustic guitar and classical piano. He would often sit down at the piano and just improvise. 

A lifelong learner with a thirst for a good documentary, Dennis embraced technology from the early days of internet message boards to using technology to enhance his musical interests. He spent hours tinkering with computers, would rather fix an item than buy a new one, and if he could do a job himself, he would. Dennis loved to work with his hands. Over the years, he loved to craft furniture for friends and family and was always available to lend a hand in any DIY project. 

A true dog lover, Dennis found immense joy in spending time with his dogs and until the end was motivated by the goal of being able to walk them again. 

In 2001, after the passing of his mother, he returned home to Kansas City and proudly took over the home his family built in 1956. He and his wife Betty joined St. Agnes Catholic Church and continued the Rues family commitment to the parish. 

He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend. 

Surviving family includes his wife of 31 years, Betty; his daughter Kimberly Rues (Mark Sapp) and their children Eric (Nicole Vescovi) Bell and Jason Bell; his daughter Sharon Rues and her children Carter and Fletcher Pettid; his step-daughter Stacy Leal and her children Christian (Becca), Brandon (Katie), Anthony, Alyssa, and Victoria; his step-son Frank (Rachel) Molino and his children Sophie and Josie; and eight great-grandchildren. He is also survived by brothers Allen (Pat) Rues and Gerald (Joni) Rues, sister Audry (Merle) Wise, and 11 nieces and nephews.  Dennis was preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Martina (Egidy) Rues; his sister, Kathryn Rues-Boten; and his brother-in-law, John Boten.

Dennis was a man of unwavering integrity and kindness. He was known for his willingness to lend a helping hand and his ability to bring joy to those around him. He always had a story to share, often completed by the sharing of a photo from his phone. His infectious laughter and warm smile will be fondly remembered by all who knew him.

His doctors constantly reminded him that he was an overachiever, and he took pride in participating in clinical trials through the University of Kansas Cancer Center. He knew he was contributing to the science that could positively impact outcomes for those with pancreatic cancer. 

Visitation will be held Thursday, July 11, 4-6 pm, at Porter Funeral Home, Lenexa, Kansas. Family and friends are invited to join in remembering and celebrating a life well-lived.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Agnes Catholic Church, Roeland Park, Kansas July 12 at 10:00 am. Entombment will follow at Resurrection Cemetery, Lenexa, Kansas.

For those who would like to honor him, please consider a donation to the University of Kansas Cancer Center.


Carl Fosco Jul 08, 2024

Friend of Sharon Rues ,Omaha ,Nebraska

So sorry for your loss.

Larry & Linda Egidy Jul 08, 2024

cousin ,Warsaw ,Missouri

Sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and yours.

Julie Devine Jul 08, 2024

Work Colleague of Kim’s at SPE ,Lee’s Summit ,Missouri

Dear Rues family ~ I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. Definitely a full life well lived! Knowing he will be missed terribly, I hope you will find comfort in all of your wonderful memories. I spoke with Kim often about him and could feel the genuine care and admiration she felt during his battle. My thoughts are with you all during this time. Kim, I look forward to seeing you again soon! Sincerely, Julie

Jean Hammack Jul 08, 2024

Friend of his daughter Sharon ,Bennington ,Nebraska

Dear Sharon and family, A life well lived! May God ease your sorrow. May your special memories of your Dad and Grandpa give you peace and strength in the days ahead. My prayers and love are with you.

Judy Hunley Jul 09, 2024

Aunt of Kimberly and Sharon ,Rochester ,New York

So sorry for your loss! I love his smile and what a wonderful life he lived. Peace be with you.

michael fitzgerald Jul 10, 2024

high school classmate and friend ,Liberty (816) ,Missouri

Betty and family, Through his battle with cancer his attitude seemed to stay on an even keel -just matter of fact.That was Denny. Quite sad for me to lose such a long time friend. Julie and I send our prayers.

Larry Rues Jul 10, 2024

1st Cousin ,Leawood ,Kansas

As kids,Denny and I saw each other fairly often in Greeley where my dad, Ernest and Henry grew up. Denny was several years older than I so his many accomplishments were mentioned to motivate me . In recent years every few years at a funeral or family event we would catch up. I recall being impressed with his many skills and interests and especially kindnesses toward his family and others in time of need. Denny knew what we are here for and lived his life with integrity and generosity of time and talents. My wife Jane and I are away for 2 weeks and cannot make the funeral. Our condolences and prayers to family and friends.

Earl Hogan Jul 12, 2024

Friend ,Fairway ,Kansas

I met Dennis during Men of St. Agnes meetings on Thursdays after 6:45 a.m. Mass. I detected that Dennis was somewhat of a “Renaissance Man” based on what I was able to drag out of him. He certainly was not boastful. In fact, I hadn’t realized all that he had accomplished until after reading his obituary. Wow! As a Eucharistic Minister at K.U. Medical I had the opportunity to take Holy Communion to Dennis two times. Despite his health situation, he was always very cordial. Typical Dennis — always friendly and upbeat! He was great guy who will be missed by many.

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Porter Funeral Home
8535 Monrovia Street
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Jul 11, 2024
4:00 PM
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Funeral Mass
St. Agnes Catholic Church
5250 Mission Rd.
Roeland Park
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Jul 12, 2024
10:00 AM
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