Sgt. Dennis R. Rytky, Maine Army National Guard, Retired, 67, died at his home surrounded by his family Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, from complications of the flu.

Born in Rockland July 1, 1950, he was the son of William O. and Ruth L. Rogers Rytky. He grew up in Rockville and graduated from Camden Rockport High School in 1968. Upon graduation from high school, Dennis got engaged to his high school sweetheart, Paula Miller, joined the Maine Army National Guard and was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. Upon returning from Missouri in 1970, he and Paula were married and lived briefly in Thomaston before making their home in St. George. Dennis worked at many different jobs, driving trucks, working in plumbing and heating, doing construction, drilling wells and working as a chef, before settling into his job of more than 20 years, driving tractor-trailers cross-country for Crowe Rope in Warren. While driving tractor-trailers, Dennis would oftentimes take his wife or one of their children with him. He, his wife, and all three of their children once went via tractor-trailer cross-country to California; a trip he made one more time when their oldest daughter, Stacie, did an exchange at Cal State University in Bakersfield.

Children and family were an important part of Dennis' life, and he and Paula would take their children on many trips, often accompanied by his brother and sister- in-law, Keith and Cheryl Miller, and their children. As their children got older, Dennis and Paula enjoyed taking the children to various sports and other activities throughout the state from elementary school through college. Dennis loved deep-sea fishing, gambling (especially in Nevada) while driving cross-country, hunting, fishing and camping with his son, sons-in-law, and grandchildren.

He "humored" Paula by accompanying her to garden and landscape nurseries, and by taking mini-vacations, most often to the White Mountains. In addition to raising their children and driving a tractor-trailer, Dennis was an active member of the Maine Army National Guard for more than 28 years. He proudly served in Iraq in 2004, but returned with various illnesses and injuries, and was upset to be medically discharged before he could reach his 30 years with the Guard.

In more recent years, Dennis and Paula enjoyed vacations to Florida with each of their children and grandchildren. They first traveled to Orlando and did the theme park tours when the grandchildren were little. Another year, they visited the theme parks, watched the Red Sox and went to Amelia Island. All other years they went to the Florida Keys, where Dennis got to enjoy his passion of deep-sea fishing. In Maine, Dennis loved fishing, hunting, camping (in cabins only), and going "heater hunting" with his family and friends.

Dennis loved to buy, break, fix, and then break again various older pieces of equipment, boats and motors. His son-in-law Bill fixed the small engines and electrical components, while anyone he could find fixed his other projects. He went on many fishing trips to various locations around coastal Maine, oftentimes breaking down anywhere between the St. George River or Monhegan Island. He was good and kind to everyone, oftentimes cooked large seafood meals for many people, and wouldn't accept any money for most things he did. He had many friends whom he would do anything for, from giving free rides to someplace out of state to buying parts for and fixing an acquaintance's vehicle.

He had a special relationship with his son-in-law Bill, whom he considered to be his son. He was close to his grandchildren, and many of their friends called him Grampy. He also enjoyed a close relationship with his nephew Jeremy Rytky, son-in-law Darrell, and was appreciative of all the care he received from his daughters, son, daughter-in-law Danielle, and the countless hours he spent with his grandchildren.

Predeceased by his parents and a brother, James Rytky, Dennis is survived by his wife, Paula; a son, Corey Rytky, and his wife, Danielle, all of St. George; two daughters, Stacie Rytky-Smith and her husband, William, of Warren, Denise Rytky and Darrell Brown; 10 grandchildren, Dylan, Casey, Coleman, Curtis, Dylan, Kaylie, Alexis, Branden, Maddox and Coral; his siblings and their spouses, Thomas Rytky, William and Maryjane Rytky of Rockland, Sandra and William Keefe of Richmond, Florence and Fred Clough of Rockland, Mary and Ron Howell of Bangor, Jane Benner of Thomaston; as well as several nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends are invited to visit from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St., Rockland, where a service will be held at 5 p.m., concluding with military honors. The Rev. Wayne Sawyer will officiate. A reception will follow at the Winslow-Holbrook- Merritt American Legion Post No. 1, 335 Limerock St., Rockland.

Those who wish may make memorial contributions to the Dennis R. Rytky Memorial Fun, at any Camden National Bank branch, or P.O. Box 880, Rockland, ME 04841, or at on Paypal.

To share a memory or story with Dennis' family, visit their online Book of Memories at bchfh.com.