Dennis George Punches
Dennis George Punches, 81, of Tequesta, Fla., took his last breath on Dec. 19, 2017, at the Hospice Care Unit of Jupiter Medical Center in Jupiter, Fla. Dennis LOVED life. His upbeat, optimistic spirit helped him see and develop potential in relationships as well as business ventures. He strove to make his dreams and the dreams of others come true! Dennis leaves behind his beloved wife, Angela Punches; his adult stepdaughters Alice and Staci Vilenskaya; his four adult children from his first marriage to Kathleen Truesdail: Debbie, Laurie, Dennis II “Skip” and Emmalou; his youngest brother, William Punches, and two younger stepsisters, Georgia “Bunny” Carney and Charmaigne Wagenaar. Dennis also says goodbye to 11 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren and to faithful friends and partners in business, including: Bev Wortman, Rob Duersten, Bill Kagel, Jim Richards (Capio Partners), John Pearce (Collection House), Bo Goransen (Intrum Justitia), David Lucas, Agnes Anderson, Coach Holtz (his high school coach), Dr. Henry Roepke (Doc), Danny Hurtak, and many more.
A “Celebration of Life” gathering for Dennis will be held at Tequesta Country Club, 201 Country Club Dr, Tequesta, Fla., on Jan. 18, 2018, at 3:00 p.m. A second Celebration of Life/memorial service will be held at Southminster Presbyterian Church, 200 Richard St., Waukesha, on May 5, 2018 at 1:00 p.m., with the celebration to be held at North Hills Country Club, N73-W13430 Appleton Ave., Menomonee Falls, to follow at 3:00 p.m.
Dennis took his first breath January 18, 1936 on a bitter, cold day outside Eagle River. He was the fourth of six children born to his late parents, Herbert Punches and Dorothy Jensen. In his early years, Dennis developed a passion for hunting and fishing alongside his father. Dennis’ late siblings include Herbert Punches, Robert Kitts, Shirley Haug and Patricia Fredriksen. In high school, Dennis excelled in academics as well as athletics and was awarded an athletic scholarship to play four sports for Carroll College (now Carroll University) in Waukesha. Dennis is remembered best for quarterbacking his college football team and breaking a Carroll record for the long jump.
For the next several decades, Dennis was faithfully involved with his alma mater, which included serving on the board of trustees; being inducted into the Athlete Hall of Fame and receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award. Dennis provided a financial gift to the college to build a state-of-the-art track and field facility.
While still a college student, Dennis took a part-time job as a salesman for a local collection agency. Shortly thereafter he had the opportunity to buy the company. It was renamed Payco American Corporation, and eventually was traded on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. For the next 40 years, Dennis nurtured and grew the company along with a talented leadership team. The company was sold in 1996.
In 2000, Dennis assisted with the success of Australia’s largest debt receivable company, Collection House, to go public on the Australian Stock Exchange. Dennis stayed active in the debt receivable industry by creating the International Collectors Group (ICG), which consisted of executives from debt collection agencies from all around the world. He also served as a director for the following debt receivable companies: Capio/Attention LLC from Atlanta, Ga.; and Intrum Justitia from Stockholm, Sweden. Dennis also served as a director for a nationwide telemarketing company, Call Solutions/Novo 1 from Waukesha.
Eventually Dennis made Florida his state of residency. During the winter months he enjoyed his condo on Jupiter Island, Jupiter, Fla. During the summers, he enjoyed spending time at either his condo in downtown Milwaukee or at a lovely cottage on Lower Genesee Lake affectionately referred to as “The Lake House.”
In Dennis’ later years he developed two executive fishing resorts in Manitoba, Canada; North Haven Resort and North Star Executive Outpost. In so doing he tied together his connection to his father who had worked as a fishing guide in Eagle River and his children in whom he inspired a love for fishing and the outdoors.
A few years ago Dennis reflected on his life in authoring a book called “Want a Shine Mister — 10 cents.” Dennis was a big Green Bay Packers fan. He was also passionate about horse racing and owned a champion race horse called Spirit Of Fighter. Other leisure pursuits included golfing, skiing, playing tennis, fly fishing (especially for trout), deep sea fishing off his yacht called “One Lucky Punch” or spending relaxed time at his vacation home in Old Bahama Bay in The Bahamas.
Dennis’ final request was to have his ashes spread on his favorite trout stream in central Wisconsin where he and his dear friend, the late John Taylor, spent many opening trout weekends with their families.
Anyone wanting to honor Dennis’ memory, please consider donations to Southminster Presbyterian Church, 200 Richard St., Waukesha, where in his younger years, sang in the choir, taught Sunday School, and lead the efforts to build a new church building.
Dennis was loved and cherished by family and friends. He will be dearly missed. He truly believed, as the lyrics to his favorite song remind us, “It’s a Wonderful World!”