Dennis C. Orvis
Dennis Orvis was born September 1929 in the house of his maternal grandparents in Waverly Iowa. He arrived with the Great Depression to teenage parents, Viola and Neal Orvis. His mother was born in the same house which was built in the 1800’s.
This young family had much turmoil and eventually located in Waterloo Iowa. His dad was an alcoholic. Alcohol was a member of his family and his parents separated a number of times. It was not unusual for young Dennis to return to live with his Waverly grandparents during those problem situations.
He started school at Lowell Elementary in Waterloo. Third and fourth grades found him in the Waverly School System. He then attended fifth, sixth and seventh grades at Hawthorne Elementary and East Junior High School in Waterloo. He returned to Waverly for eighth grade and then finished his schooling at Waverly, graduating with the high school class of 1947. College, unfortunately, was never an option.
Dennis graduated at five foot two inches tall, weighing only one hundred sixteen pounds. He was too small for most high school sports but he is quite proud to say he was on the school’s first wrestling team as a starter at the 112 pound wrestling weight.
After graduation he worked in the town’s only hotel until he was drafted in the Army for two years, 1951-1953, during the Korean Conflict. He spent the first three weeks in Kansas and then the rest of his two year term at the Atlanta General Depot Army Base in Atlanta Georgia as a clerk-typist at the Army’s automotive school.
It was during that time he met and fell in love with Edith Daniel of Winder, Georgia. They were married on Thanksgiving Day, 1952. After his Honorable Discharge from the Army, February 1953, he returned to Waverly with his new wife. Edie blessed him with three children, Vicki Lynn, 1954, Dennis Charles, 1956 and LeAnn Rae, 1958.
During their first ten years together Dennis had a number of jobs trying to find a career. In addition he became very active in the Junior Chamber of Commerce Organization after a new Jaycee club was chartered in Waverly. In the following four years he quickly rose through the ranks of the local and state Jaycee organizations. Then in the spring of 1962 he was a candidate for the presidency of the Iowa Jaycees. He came in second in the election that lasted over five hours.
Later, in the fall of the same year he was hired as the first fulltime Manager of the Chariton Iowa Chamber of Commerce. This was the beginning of a very successful career in the Chamber of Commerce profession that took him and his family to Gary Indiana, Mason City Iowa and then Fall River Massachusetts. Over his twenty-one year career he had many accomplishments in those communities. He received many honors along the way and also served numerous public and professional organizations during those years.
Dennis retired in 1983 and became co-owner of a Florida campground in Winter Haven, Florida. Twenty-two years later they sold the campground and Dennis retired once more. He and his wife, Edie moved to the Cypresswood Golf and Country Club on the edge of Winter Haven, Florida in 2005, where they have enjoyed their retirement.
It was also in 1983 when he started writing stories for his children and grandchildren. Writing served him well through his activities in the Jaycees and the Chambers of Commerce and now writing stories seemed to come easy for him.
Since that time he has written over two hundred children’s stories, over one thousand poems and several hundred essays covering his experience and opinions. Nearly one hundred and fifty of his poems have appeared in the Lakeland (Florida) Ledger newspaper. Some have also appeared in newspapers of his hometown of Waverly, Iowa and several towns where he managed the Chamber of Commerce.
In closing he gives thanks to his children and grandchildren who claim to like his stories. And special thanks to his wife, Edie, who has tolerated the time and energy he has spent on his writings. He also gives special thanks to his friend, John Bardenhagen, who has designed the many, many covers, over two hundred, for his stories and special projects, plus the artwork for over two hundred Stump Talk stories and rhymes. He dresses them all in beautiful pictures.
Dennis, who celebrated his eighty-sixth birthday, September of 2015, is still keeping very busy writing new stories and poetry.
He says, “I grew up in a house without books. Somehow I managed to find some success, but books are important. And I hope that something I have written will give pleasure to the reader and/or maybe help someone else find their way.”