GRANDVIEW Family, friends and acquaintances ranging from the Grandview Greyhounds boys basketball players to members of law enforcement gathered in the Grandview High School gym this past Saturday to celebrate the life of John “Dennis” Bottineau.
An advocate for youth athletics, Dennis brought joy to the lives of many with his antics and his passion.
His cousin, Fred Reimer led the service, during which there was a reading of Dennis’ obituary, a slide show and the reading of an article by sports writer Jeff Place called “The Gentle Giant.”
Each person who spoke of Dennis and how he touched their lives had a funny story to share, commemorating the man’s joie de vivre.
Moses Ibarra was the first to speak, stating he and Dennis were often taunting one another — Dennis trying to get Moses to go white water rafting, and Moses trying to get Dennis to join his men’s group.
“Look, your brother went on a rafting trip… why haven’t you gone,” Dennis would taunt.
“It was about the connection,” Moses said.
His brother, Adam Ibarra, read the Place article before sharing his own memories of Dennis, whom he’d know about 10 years.
“He always talked about his sons,” Adam said, telling the gathering Dennis talked about Brent and Ryan so much it was obvious how strong the bond between father and sons was.
While white water rafting, Dennis didn’t miss a beat. He was talking to Adam about the boys and Adam pointed out the rafters might need direction getting through some rough water.
Dennis quickly directed the group before continuing where he left off.
“It was like they were along for the ride,” Adam said.
Moses took to the microphone again, letting all know he is a dedicated 49ers football fan.
In Dennis’ honor, “It hurts to say this, but… ‘Go Hawks’,” he said to the amusement of everyone.
Dennis’ brother Ken spoke to the crowd, sharing a few shenanigans and what it was like growing up with a man who was talented athletically and was well-liked by most.
Because of Dennis’ reputation and popularity at Sunnyside High School, Ken said he decided to play football like his older brother.
There was a tradition of initiating sophomores by making them run to the flag pole in nothing but a jock strap.
“I didn’t have to,” Ken said.
Dennis was a member of the Grizzlies football team, which won the Mid-Valley Championship title. He was also a wrestler for the Grizzlies.
But it was an art teacher that threw Ken for a loop. He’d won second place in a showing, and when it was time to receive his prize check, it was written in Dennis’ name.
Little sister, Deanna Potter, said, “I couldn’t date.”
She said Dennis made sure the boys didn’t attempt to date her, much to her dismay.
He picked on her relentlessly growing up, as well.
“He had the greatest imagination… he came up with board games but played by Dennis’ rules. So, he always won,” Deanna shared to the delight of the gathering.
Stories of Dennis receiving phone calls from women who met him online, his driving a co-worker into the turf while practicing for a charity football game and the care Dennis had were shared.
“He took me on a tour of the underground sprinkler system,” Patrick Krzan of the Hanford Patrol said, when talking about Dennis’ football prowess.
“He expressed himself to kids… he touched a lot of the boys,” friend Alfonso Contreras said.
“Everything he did… he lived it all out… he lived,” Contreras said.