ATLANTIC MINE - Dennis R. "Stenner" Sten, 55, a resident of the Houghton Canal Road, Stanton Township, died on Saturday, July 14, 2012, at his home, following a short illness.
He was born in Hancock on August 23, 1956, a son of Robert and Dorothy (Koskela) Sten and was a 1974 graduate of Houghton High School.
Dennis' work career was in construction. He was first employed with Lindberg Construction and later with Gundlach Construction Company. Prior to retirement, he worked for Mattila Contracting.
Dennis was first married to Cheryl Auger. He later married his loving wife, Donna Manninen.
Dennis was a well-known hockey player. He began playing in the Copper Country Junior Hockey Association and went on to play high school hockey for the Houghton Gremlins, coached under the late Don Miller.
Following high school, Dennis played semi-professional hockey in the Continental Hockey League from 1974-1978 for the Peoria Blades in Peoria, Illinois. In his four years as a center with the Blades, he scored an impressive 491 points with 214 goals and 277 assists during regular season games.
Dennis played hockey with the Portage Lake Pioneers for many years and also played on several championship teams in the Copper Country Old Timers Tournament. In 2010, Dennis was invited by former MTU and professional hockey player, Steve Jensen, to play for Hartland Hockey in the USA Hockey National Championships in the 50 & Over Tier 1 Division games in Florida, capturing the championship game.
Dennis also played on the 50 & Over team in the Marquette Early Bird Tournaments in 2010-2011, with his team winning both championship games. One of Dennis' highlights in hockey was the trip he made to play with several fellow Copper Country hockey players in Hancock's sister city, Porvoo, Finland. He also played in the Florida Palm Hockey Tournament as well as playing in the USA Hockey Pond Hockey National Championships in Eagle River, Wis., winning the championship games in the 30 & Over Division in 2008, and in the 50 & Over Division in 2011. He also played in the Randy McKay 3-on-3 Hockey Tournaments.
Dennis' passion for hockey not only involved playing the sport he loved so much, but taking time to spend working with the area youth mentoring them to develop the fundamental skills of hockey. He was always willing to spend time shoveling and flooding outdoor rinks in Coles Creek and Freda and helped whenever he could at the Kenner Dome in Oskar.
Dennis was also an avid baseball player, starting in Little League. He later played on the American Legion Post 186 baseball team where he was coached by Arne Henderson who inspired him to play the game. He went on to play Twilight League Baseball for the Stanton Wildcats for many years, primarily as an infielder and pitcher.
During his years on the team, they clinched several league and playoff titles. Dennis is remembered by his teammates as being a reliable player, traveling from his out-of-town job every Tuesday and Thursday to make the games. He was a well-respected player, not only by his teammates, but by players on the opposing teams.
Dennis was a member of Laborers International Union of North America Local 1329. He enjoyed golfing, cross country skiing, camping with his family and taking his two dogs, Spaz and Casey for walks.
Surviving are his wife, Donna, of the Houghton Canal Road; his parents, Robert and Dorothy Sten of Oskar Bay; children, Lauren Sten of Neenah, Wis., Jolene Ryan Rosseter (Jeff) of Lake Zurich, Ill., Leeann Manninen of Hurontown, Edward Manninen II (Alyssa) of Walkersville, MD, Matthew Manninen of the Houghton Canal Road and Macey Manninen who held a special place in Dennis' heart; one grandson, Edward Manninen III; two brothers and two sisters, Allan Sten (Beverly Esquible) of Freda, Carol "Bill" Vater of Freda, Jim (Carole) Sten of Redridge, and Mary Jo (Andy) Lukehart of South Range; nieces and nephews, John (Bridget) Durocher, William (Fawn) Vater III, Tammie Vater (Leon Fraki), Jeffrey Vater, Paul Sten, Brooke Sten, Allison Sten and Callie Sten; as well as numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
Dennis was preceded in death by an infant son, Brett Dennis Sten; maternal grandparents, Victor and Helen Koskela; paternal grandparents, Eino and Lempi Sten; brother-in-law, James Durocher; sister-in-law, Paula Sten; uncle, Roy Koskela; aunt, Darlene Heikka; and many dear friends.
Dennis loved his family and friends; spending time with them was important to him. His daughter, Lauren, meant the world to him. He will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved him.
A Memorial Service will be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday, July 19 at Sts. Peter & Paul Lutheran Church in Houghton with Pastor David Weber to officiate. Visitation will be from 11 a.m. until time of services in the church. Interment will be in the Oskar Cemetery.
Arrangements are being handled by the Jukuri-Antila Funeral Home in Hancock, Antila Funeral Service, Inc.
Online condolences may be expressed to the family at antilafuneral.com.