The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Jun. 13, 2024

Dennis Jay Knittle

Dennis Jay Knittle, affectionately known as Denny, peacefully passed away on Wednesday, October 18, 2023, at the age of 78, surrounded by his loving wife Shelley at OhioHealth Van Wert Hospital.

Born on March 22, 1945, to Horace and Cecile (Ireland) Knittle in Van Wert, Denny was a true son of Ohio. On September 24, 1991, Denny married the love of his life, Shelley J. Romick. Together, they shared a bond that was forged through love, companionship, and countless cherished memories.

Denny and Shelley enjoyed exploring the U.S., embarking on adventures, and occasionally testing their luck at the casino. They found great joy in dining out and spending quality time with their dear friends, Jim and Sandy Sheets, and Dick and Marlene Jones. Denny’s warm presence and infectious laughter will truly be missed by his family and friends.

Denny is survived by his devoted wife, Shelley, and his beloved sons, Travis (Jodi) Knittle and Andrew Knittle. He was a proud grandfather to Evan, Alyssa, Emiree, and Creeden Knittle. Denny is also survived by his brother, Gordon (Sonja) Knittle; sisters-in-law, Arlene Knittle and Wendy (Jan) Flynn; brother-in-law Dan Romick, and a host of nieces, nephews, aunts, and uncles.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, William, Richard, and Kenneth Knittle; sisters, Louise Miller, Naomi Van Doren, and Marjorie Rhoades, as well as his brothers-in-law, Wilbur Miller, Skip Van Doren, and Dwight Rhoades.

After graduating from Van Wert High School in 1963, Denny proudly served his country in the Army before being honorably discharged. He then joined the Ohio National Guard, where he served for 11 years. Denny’s dedication and work ethic were evident throughout his career as a laborer in the manufacturing and factory industry. He worked at Federal Mogul and the Chrysler Plant in Van Wert before retiring from the Lima Army Tank Plant after 27 1/2 years of service. Even in retirement, Denny found purpose working for Central Mutual Insurance Company until 2013.

Denny was known for his kind and patient nature. He had a zest for life and adored his wife’s cooking and baking. A delicious piece of prime rib or lobster tail never failed to put a smile on his face. Those who knew Denny well can certainly attest to the fact that Chap Stick will greatly miss his business.

Denny enjoyed spending time with friends, engaging in lively conversations, and making lasting memories. As a lifetime member of Elks Lodge 1197, he found camaraderie and community. An avid sports enthusiast, Denny played basketball and baseball in high school and later coached little league teams. He was a dedicated fan of the Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Indians, and The Ohio State Buckeyes. Denny was also an accomplished bowler, achieving a perfect 300, and a passionate golfer who fulfilled his dream of hitting a hole-in-one. He loved fishing at Johnson Lake in Minnesota, a tradition he upheld for 30 years. In his leisure time, Denny enjoyed horse racing, playing cards, and dominos. Above all, he took immense pride in cheering on his grandchildren in their various sporting activities, imparting his wisdom and encouragement to guide them towards success.

The family would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Trimble, Dr. Oba, and the compassionate nursing staff of Ohio Health Van Wert Hospital for their exceptional care during Denny’s illness.

A celebration of Denny’s life will be held from 3-6 p.m. November 19, at the Van Wert Elks Lodge. This open house gathering will offer an opportunity for family, friends, and loved ones to come together to share cherished memories and pay their respects.

In honor of Denny’s legacy, the family kindly requests that memorials be made to the VW Elks 1197 Scholarship Fund, or to the Van Wert Humane Society.

To share in Denny’s online memorial, go to

POSTED: 10/29/23 at 8:28 am. FILED UNDER: Obituaries