Dennis "Denny" Essig, 76, of Spring Valley, died Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, surrounded by his family at Rochester Methodist Hospital from complications of lung cancer. 

Dennis Billy Essig was born June 3, 1937, in Anoka, Minn., to Ervin and Dorothy Essig.

He was united in marriage to Mary Carol Eckes on July 25, 1956, at St. Bartholomew's Catholic Church in Wayzata, Minn.

A United States Navy veteran, he proudly served in active duty from 1955 to 1958. Following his military service, he worked a variety of retail jobs including at Waytonka Market, Hovander's and Tate's, all in the Minneapolis area.

In 1975, the family moved to Spring Valley, where he first managed, then owned Denny's Super Valu until the store sold in 1992. In addition to owning the family business, he worked a variety of jobs in Spring Valley at the Spring Valley Municipal Liquor Store, the VFW, Kwik Trip, SATA and driving for Kuehn Motor Company. 

Anyone that met him received a big welcome, a tall tale, a long chat and a love that warmed the heart. A strong family man, he enjoyed most of all spending time with his wife, family and friends.

His favorite activities included riding his motorcycle, fishing, hunting, shooting, antiquing and, most of all, socializing with others.

He is survived his son, Bill (Laura) Essig of White Oak, Ga.; his daughter, Robin (Scott) Balliet of Spring Valley; five grandchildren, Kris (Linda) Hinze, Jamie Fredrickson, Kassi Hinze, Brandon Balliet and Shawn Essig; two great-grandchildren, Lauren Hinze and Jace Fredrickson; three brothers, Nick (Kathy) Essig, Lonnie (Karen) Essig and Glenn (Sue) Essig and three sisters-in-law, Diane Essig, Fran Rutherford and Mona Swaggart.

He was preceded in death by his wife; his daughter, Kelly Essig-Hinze and his brother, Gary Essig. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in honor of his great-granddaughter, Lauren Hinze.

A celebration of life service will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 8, at the Hindt Funeral Home in Spring Valley.