Dennis Lee Waggoner, 1958 - 2020
Dennis Lee Waggoner, 62, has fought the Good Fight in a long battle against cancer. There has been no clear winner and the fight, which took place at their Bristow family home, has been declared a draw. After careful consideration, Dennis relocated on March 5, 2020, at 11:55 a.m., either unwilling or unable to accept a “stalemate” decision, or the possibility of receiving a participation trophy and has gone on to begin his next great adventure. Dennis, the fourth child born to Cyrus Arnold Waggoner and Flora Mareno, was born Feb. 7, 1958, in Cortez, Colorado. The family moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico and later moved to California, where he attended Catholic school. He was not fond of school or of the ruler-wielding sisters who taught the classes, which he also hated, except history. He loved history class, and he especially loved American History.
Dennis was proud to be an American and loved his country. He supported the 2nd Amendment and was a member of the NRA. He thought that the Pledge of Allegiance should be recited in school and that if any person living in the United States expressed hatred of this great country, they should move to Canada or Iraq. In 1975, at the age of 17, Dennis joined the Army and served in the U. S. Army Corp. of (Combat) Engineers, while stationed at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. After discharging from the Army, he returned to Farmington, New Mexico and soon found a job working on a drilling rig for 4-Corners Drilling. He was a (worm) floor hand; the lowest position on a drilling rig. Everyone outranks you, the hours are long, it’s hard work and you get filthy-dirty. He loved it! Years later when asked about his career on the rigs, he was known to say “It’s not work if you love what you’re doing.” Dennis didn’t remain a worm for long. He was soon promoted to motorman, then derricks and finally worked his way up to driller, with his own crew. When working in the oilfield, reputation means everything and Dennis had a reputation as being a hard worker, he ran a safe rig and didn’t take shortcuts, yet his crew often managed to beat the curve, earning bonus pay. This was what he was meant to do! Until the bottom fell out of the boom and he was laid off. With oil and gas production in a slump, jobs were hard to find in Farmington so Dennis pulled up stakes and moved to Roseburg, Oregon. He soon found work as a logger, cutting down trees for transportation. After a close friend was killed in a logging accident the industry lost its appeal for him and he began working as a general contractor, driving a van with the logo “Captain Handy” on the side and a picture of a flying man with a cape, holding a Thor-like hammer. He did general handyman work, remodeling houses and plumbing. Dennis enjoyed the work but always kept an eye on oil and gas production and returned to New Mexico when a buddy called and told him he had a drilling job if he wanted it. He did and moved back to Farmington where the work was. In 1995, after another slowdown in drilling, Dennis moved to Albuquerque and began working for RainSoft, installing water softeners and drinking systems. In 1997, he was transferred to the Oklahoma City area and then to Tulsa. Another installer, Brock Wilbur, invited Dennis to come to the Bristow Elks Lodge for a drink after work. It was there that Dennis met Dawn, the Elk’s lounge bartender, and his future wife. They married Feb. 5, 1999, a date chosen by Dennis so that he would not forget their anniversary; and he never forgot it. In 2001 Dennis was offered a job as a tool pusher on a drilling rig in the 4-Corners area and the Waggoner’s moved to Aztec, New Mexico where he worked until 2003, when they moved back to Bristow. Dennis had a new job as a Rig Manager working in Colorado; he would fly in biweekly to work, living in on-site “man-camps”. He worked for several different drilling companies, always returning to Bristow on his “days off ”. He loved to spend his time off with his wife and grandson-fishing, 4-wheeling, building things and driving his tractor. He collected hats, tattoos, mud-flaps from the highways that had fallen off of semis and he collected friends. Dennis loved people and people loved him back. He seldom passed a car with the hood up on the side of the road without turning around to see if someone needed help, often taking people to town to get gas, car parts or just giving them a ride home. But he still loved his job. In 2011 Dennis began working as a well-site consultant/company man and in 2012 he started his own company, Big Iron Consulting Services, and began consulting for Sandridge Energy in north central Oklahoma; where he received the first Sandridge Energy Safety Leader Recognition Award, 2014. He continued doing the job he loved and now he was also riding his Harley Davidson on his days off. He loved riding and often went to Aztec, New Mexico to ride with his “brothers” of the road and was the Road Captain of the Los Toros R.C. Farmington (New Mexico) Some of these “brothers“ were friends of over 40 years. Dennis rode his Harley until he found out he had cancer and then he continued to ride until he no longer could.
Dennis is survived by his wife of 21 years: Dawn (French) Waggoner, of their Bristow home; daughter: Mellissa Waggoner, of Portland, Oregon; son: Jayson Waggoner and wife Sheena, of Farmington, New Mexico; stepdaughters: Nicole Shevokas and Carlos Cordova, of Aztec, New Mexico, Aleisha Cordell and husband Mike; Rachael Ferguson, of Mc-Cloud; stepson: Charles Ferguson, Jr.; grandchildren: Michael and David Spencer; Ukiah, Wyatt and Aurora Waggoner; Mya Dan, Dale and Claire Cordell; one great granddaughter: Jemima Mae Rodriquez; sisters: Rosa Waggoner, of Silverton, Oregon, Pam Churchill and husband Ian, of Los Angeles, California; brothers: Clint and David Waggoner, of Winter Garden, Florida; Israel Uranga and wife Helen, of Albuquerque, New Mexico; nephews and nieces: Dashiell and Amy Terry; Poncho Uranga; Mario Uranga Jr.; Billy and Amanda Mensch; Reina Gonzales; Darlene Moya; and Alicia Uranga.
Dennis was predeceased by his father: Cyrus Arnold Waggoner; mother: Flora Uranga; and brother: Mario Uranga.
The family would like to give special thanks to the Muskogee V.A. hospital staff and to Millennium Hospice nurses, Teresa (Annie) Fleischman, Telena Cooper, Heidi Peterson and aide, Betty Harris for going above and beyond with your care of Dennis.
A Celebration of the Life of Dennis Lee Waggoner will be held on a date yet to be determined, at Michaels Funeral Home, Bristow. Visit www.michaelsfuneralservices.com to leave online condolences and view updated service information.