Dennis Orlando's life by Bruno Tonin (continued)

Growing up, Dennis's family lived in Santa Monica and then moved to Pacific Palisades. His father, Frank was the manager of many popular movie theaters in Santa Monica and then went into the Rest Home business with his brother Rudy. Dennis had 2 sisters- Karen and Sandy.

Dennis was the most honest and trustworthy person one could ask for in a friend. When he made a promise you could take it to the bank. Dennis was a person that I never heard speak of someone in a negative way. If everyone was more like him the world would be a better place.

All through our lives we vacationed together with family and friends. We spend many summers in Catalina, Crestline and Lake Arrowhead. Later in life we would take numerous trips and cruises with our wives, children and parents.

During school, both elementary and High School, there were 3 of us that were best friends - Dennis, Dennis Rydgren and myself, if you saw one of us the other two were close behind.

After graduation Dennis went to SMCC and worked in the family Rest Home business. In 1965 I met my future wife Ellen Smith, later she introduced Dennis to her best friend, Joann Ferguson. They were both Juniors at Saint Monica's. Dennis and Joann were married in June 1968, three weeks after Ellen and myself were married. He was my best man and I was his.

Dennis joined the Air Force while dating Joann and became a jet mechanic and spend 13 months in Viet Nam. After returning to the States they lived in Arizona and after his enlistment was up they moved back to Santa Monica. They raised 2 children - Jeff and Deann.

While living in Santa Monica Dennis and his family sold the family business and he started a company doing home and apartment repairs, when I had some type of repair problem he would come to my rescue.

When Dennis came down with cancer the doctors gave him only a couple of years to live. He proved them wrong, surviving over 8 years and during that time he and Joann moved to Texas to be closer to their family. Dennis was a very practical person and he knew that he wanted Joann to be by their children and have everything in order when the time came.

A year prior to his passing he called and stated that he and Joann wanted to take a trip to Europe. We spent 1 week in Rome staying by the Vatican and then took the train to Venice, spending a few days there. In Venice we boarded a cruise ship to Greece and then to Turkey. Dennis was in fair condition, he knew his limitations but we had a great time. His sister, Sandy and her husband meet us in Rome and spent the week. I knew that was the last trip we would take together.

In 2012 his health started to fail. Ellen and myself took trips to Texas to visit and say our last goodby's. Danny Loporto, class of 1963, a friend since childhood made a trip with us. It was hard to say goodby to a life long friend, but I had to do it.

When we received a call from Joann that Dennis has passed away, we immediately boarded a plane to be with the family. Dennis Rydgren attended the services and we renewed our friendship.

I gave the Eulogy at the service and went way over my time but how can one say something about a friend you knew for over 60 years.

The last time I spoke to Dennis I cried and hugged him and told him that one day we would meet again and pick up our friendship where we left off.

Bruno Tonin- class of 64'