Obituary for Albert Dennis Grippen
4/4/37 – 5/7/21
Albert Dennis Grippen, (known to all as Den, Dennis, or Denny), took his last breath early in the morning of Friday, May 7th, 2021, under the care of the Hackensack Meridian Hospice Team South at Southern Ocean Medical Center in Stafford Township, New Jersey. Thankfully, his passing was pain-free, quiet, and peaceful.
He was born at home in Princeton, New Jersey to parents Nellie and Joseph Grippen. Dennis was the youngest of four, including older siblings Gloria (deceased), Joseph (deceased), and surviving sister, Patricia (Grippen) Rico, of Bayville. He grew up in Lakewood, New Jersey, and was an active participant in the Alumni Class of 1956 for decades. He was a larger-than-life football and track hero who always recalled his school days as the best times of his life. In addition, Dennis and his former wife Arlene Grippen (deceased) had two children, Claudia (Grippen) Crawford and her husband Karlton Crawford, and Albert Dennis, Grippen, Jr. and his spouse, Teresa. He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Maureen. Dennis is also survived by grandchildren: Tara, Donavin, Albert, Amy, Arlene, Makka, Jacob, and Tyler. Also, his legacy includes seven great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
Dennis was trained by his father, as well as formally, to be a butcher. This was followed by a series of businesses that ranged from Long Beach Island, Atlantic City, Trenton, Lakewood, and finally, to Little Egg Harbor. His entrepreneurial businesses included a deli, fitness center, sales, gas station owner, bar owner, butcher/ wholesale meat business, and finally, a
handyman-construction business in Little Egg Harbor, which he maintained successfully for the last twenty three years. He was also a Gold Medal winner in the Senior Olympics in the track and field shotput event. Other honors include: a BA in Business from Strafford University; Lakewood Alumni Hall of Fame, as well as a Lakewood Sports Hall of Fame honoree. His larger than life personality touched everyone who crossed his path, and Dennis will be sadly missed by both family and friends.
Following cremation via the Maxwell Funeral Home of Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, a Celebration of Life event is currently being planned by the family in the midst of a summer filled with graduations, weddings, showers, and other memorial events. More information will follow on Facebook and the Funeral Home website: www.maxwellfuneralhome.com.
One of a Kind
Early this morning my husband of 25 years (Albert) Dennis Grippen, took his last breath. I am thankful that a wonderful nurse named Marlena and his dear granddaughter, Tara, were with him for these final moments. He has been a very sick man for a very long time, but Dennis always bounced back and informed us that we were not getting rid of him that easily. He was one of a kind in so many ways, and his larger-than-life presence and amazing memories will remain in our hearts forever.
I will not portray Dennis as a saint, as many people tend to do when a loved one dies. His life philosophy in life, as well as his favorite song, was “I Did It My Way.” Indeed, he always did! He was bold, feisty, argumentative, stubborn, and a risk-taker. He also had a heart the size of the Atlantic Ocean and was always there for family and friends when they needed him. His stories, both true and exaggerated, are legendary. His many antics have been told and retold by family and life-long friends; those of us who weren’t there at the time can only scratch our heads and wonder if these memories could really be true. I loved this man because of his fierce love and devotion to me, his kindness and generosity, his unique sense of humor, his one-of-a-kind personality, and his unquestionable support for those he loved. The last message I have from him on my cell phone is his Stevie Wonder rendition of “I just called to say I love you...”. He was out of breath and hung up right after leaving that message. I will never erase it!
As our nephew Ron once said to me, “Thank you for taking such good care of my uncle. I know he is not exactly a walk in the park!” I have recalled that comment many times in recent weeks, and it is very true. But as I begin the process of mourning his passing, along with his children, sister, and extended family, I have tell you tonight that I know I am a very fortunate woman to have experienced the unwavering love Dennis had for me for so many years. As my mother said regarding her dedication to my father, “I have fought the good fight; I have kept the faith.” In every regard, I always did my best for him until the end.
So, to friends, family, neighbors, and former schoolmates, rest assured that Dennis would not want us to cry for him tonight. He lived a long, productive, colorful, event-filled life. He left this life peacefully and without any pain or struggle. Most importantly, he leaves us with a wealth of memories and stories that no one can ever take away from us. Rest in peace, my dear husband, and know that your life mattered, you were loved by many, and you will be missed deeply by all who had the privilege of being a part of your life.
Until we meet again...