Cover photo for Dennis Patrick French's Obituary
Dennis Patrick French Profile Photo

Dennis Patrick French

December 17, 1942 — June 18, 2024

McHenry, Ilinois


Dennis Patrick French, 81, of Crystal Lake, passed away peacefully on June 18, 2024. Despite having fought a courageous four year long battle with esophageal cancer, Dennis never lost his sense of humor, love of gardening, and tremendous talent in building miniatures. He never relented in his undying love and devotion to his three daughters, four grandchildren, and family.


Dennis was born on December 17, 1942, in Chicago, to Patrick and Anne (Kast) French. He had a long admired career in advertising, spending his days (and many nights) as a copywriter for Leo Burnett in Chicago, writing many recognizable and successful ad campaigns for Marlboro, among others. An avid storyteller, his way with words is something that will not soon be forgotten.


His grandchildren brought him immense pride and joy, their accomplishments and dreams being something he would gladly talk proudly about. He rarely missed a volleyball game, baseball game, or band performance. A girl-dad through and through, there wasn’t a thing he wouldn’t do for his daughters, his support was unwavering, his love unrelenting.


He thoroughly enjoyed gardening, birdwatching, and nature. His gorgeous yard was featured on the McHenry County garden walk. He was a collector of vintage bicycles, spending hours in retirement restoring them. In recent years, he enjoyed building miniature rooms, to scale, and never missed a single detail.


Knowing Dennis was to admire him. Knowing Dennis was to respect him. Knowing Dennis was to love him. Missing Dennis is inevitable, and we forever will.


He is survived by his daughters, Elizabeth French, Amelia (Stephen) Vittetoe, Sarah (Geoffrey) Hansen, his grandchildren, Sam, Maddy, Molly, and Luke. His brother and best friend, Terry French, ex-wife Christine French, special partner Nancy DePalma, and many adored nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents.


“At last I shall give myself to the desert again—that I, in its golden dust may be blown from a barren peak broadcast over the sun-lands. If you should desire some news of me, go ask the little horned toad whose home is the dust; or seek it among the fragrant sage, or question the mountain juniper—and they, by their silence will freely inform you.” (Maynard Dixon)


We love you, Dad.


At Dennis’s request, no funeral or memorial service will be held. Donations in his legacy may be made to The National Audubon Society online at or via mail to The National Audubon Society ATTN: Donations 225 Varick Street, 7th floor New York, NY 10014

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dennis Patrick French, please visit our flower store.


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