Softball 01

Dennis M. Staves

June 19, 1948 ~ May 12, 2022 (age 73)


Missoula - Dennis M. Staves, 73, of Missoula passed away Thursday, May 12, 2022 at home surrounded by his family. He was born June 19, 1948 in Missoula to Myron and Nellie (Schurman) Staves and raised in the Orchard Homes area of Missoula. He attended Hawthorne Grade School and graduated from Hellgate High School in 1966. Dennis began his electrical career as an apprentice under his dad at The Electrical Shop of Missoula. Once Myron retired, Dennis took over the Electrical Shop and later established Rocky Mountain Electric Inc. He enjoyed perfecting his trade in commercial and residential work throughout Montana and the Pacific Northwest. His work included sawmill updates in Montana, Washington, and Oregon, UM Research Lab at Yellow Bay, maintenance work at Stone Container, Trempers Ace Hardware remodel, KettleHouse Brewery in Bonner, Lewis & Clark Brewery in Helena, and Bob Wards stores throughout Montana, along with many other businesses. He maintained his master’s license which was due for renewal this year. Known for his competitive spirit, he enjoyed playing men’s fastpitch, slowpitch softball and shooting skeet. When his daughters started playing Little League, he left competitive skeet shooting and began his 35+ year career of coaching Girls Fastpitch Softball. Dennis coached his daughters at Westside Little League and alongside Dennis Meuchel established the first Missoula ASA team. In ASA, he guided teams to a State Championship, a Regional Championship and 3rd place at Nationals. Dennis coached at Big Sky High School first as a volunteer then head coach where he was privileged to coach his first granddaughter for four years. During his 15-year tenure as Head Coach, Big Sky won back-to-back State Championships in 2005 and 2006 with Rob Martin at first base, was named 2005 Montana High School Softball Coach of the year and was presented the 2015 Ed Chinkski Memorial Award. With his return to Little League, Dennis guided the Garden City Softball Little League Senior Girls to the World Series in Delaware four years in a row winning the World Series Championship in 2015 with Tim Gray at first base. Following his 2017 retirement at the high school level, he and Tim Gray were coerced back to coaching their 4-year-old granddaughters in t-ball. Dennis continued to coach until his health forced him to view from the sidelines. Dennis was an avid outdoorsman. When he wasn’t working, coaching or spending time at the cabin in Trout Creek, he could be found in the mountains pursuing big game, in the goose blinds and fields around Pablo or on the water at his favorite fishing holes on the Noxon Reservoir. Dennis was able to enjoy all of these passions with his wife, daughters, son-in-law’s, grandchildren and his long time hunting partner and friend Kevin Price. Dennis married the former Karen Gilbert on June 21, 1975 and together they raised four daughters. He is survived by his wife Karen of nearly 47 years; his daughters Michelle Walt (Keith) of Missoula; Tracy Schnelle (Jay) of Jamestown, RI; Heidi Swanson (Kurt) of Missoula; and Niki Hritsco (Brian) of Boise, ID. Additionally, he is survived by his sister Neldia Puccinelli (Ed) of Florence and by his grandchildren Kodey Walt, Andrea Walt, Hunter Schnelle, Dylan Schnelle, Kelton Swanson, Everly Swanson, Aison Hritsco, and Hadden Hritsco. Dennis was preceded in death by his parents and granddaughter Ella Swanson. A celebration of Dennis’s life is scheduled for July 7th at 10:30am at the Orchard Homes Country Life Club. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Garden City Softball Little League, or St. Pat’s Cancer Center. The family extends special thanks to Dr. Sarah Scott and “his girls” at the St. Pat’s Cancer Center for helping Dennis through his journey. His last game against Prostate cancer was a hard fought battle and he lost 1-0 in the bottom of the 7th inning. It was never just a game…

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dennis M. Staves, please visit our floral store.


Celebration of Life
July 7, 2022

10:30 AM
Orchard Homes Country Life CLub
2537 S. 3rd W.
Missoula, , Montana 59804
Guaranteed delivery before the Celebration of Life begins

© 2022 Whitesitt Funeral Home & Crem Serv. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility