Dennis Edward Tierney

October 4, 1942 - January 8, 2019

Junction City, WI -- Dennis Edward Tierney, of Junction City, died on Tuesday, January 8, 2019. He was 76 years old. Dennis was born in Rockford, IL, to Thomas Donald Tierney and Irma Blackford Tierney. While he was raised in Janesville, Dennis' childhood was spent in equal parts fishing and boating on the Rock River near Brodhead. As a young man, Dennis also enjoyed traveling and automobiles. He managed to marry those passions with collegiate sojourns in Florida and Hawaii, all the while speeding through palm tree-lined streets in his Austin-Healey convertible. Wisconsin, however, was his home. Upon his return, he met and married his wife, Lani (nee Smith) and earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees at UW-Madison. Soon thereafter, he accepted a position in the career services office at UW-Stevens Point, motivated in no small part to facilitate the Canadian musky fishing excursions he so treasured.

In 2001, Dennis concluded his career at UWSP as Deputy Assistant Chancellor for Student Affairs, and as a member of the psychology department's tenured faculty. In addition to his roles as an adviser and mentor, Dennis was also a major fundraiser and athletic recruiter. It was in recognition of those activities that Dennis was inducted into the UWSP Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014.

Among his many professional achievements, Dennis valued his stewardship of the University, his numerous scholarly publications and articles, and the transformative effect of higher education. He celebrated his mother and her exploits as an author and poet; it was from her that he inherited his sharp wit and wry humor. Dennis loved the Wisconsin River and his house on Second Lake. Above all else, Dennis was immensely proud of his son, Dan, for whom he served as an enthusiastic youth sports coach, role model, and unyielding supporter and champion.

Dennis is survived by his wife, Lani, of Junction City; his son, Daniel, and daughter-in-law, Jennifer, of Boston, MA; and his sister, Nancy, of Brodhead. Dennis is preceded in death by his mother; father; and his brothers, Michael and Terence.

A memorial service will take place at Dennis's home later in the spring; please visit for more details in the coming weeks. Pisarski Funeral Home is honored to be serving the family. For online condolences please visit

Finally, Dennis' family would like to thank Marcia McDonald and the rest of the staff at Portage County Health Care Center for their compassion and support. does not condone or review every comment. Read more in our Commenter Policy Agreement

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