Dennis Read

Dennis Spencer Read, USN (Ret.) 86 was born February 17, 1937 in Everett, Washington, and died January 25, 2024 in Birmingham, Alabama.

Dennis lived in Alaska, Washington, and California before moving to Hawaii, where he graduated from Hilo High School in 1955. He received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy through the enlisted Naval Reserve Program. At USNA he earned his varsity letter in fencing and sailing, graduating with the class of 1959. He was further trained as a Nuclear Surface Warfare Officer and attended the Naval Postgraduate School, where he earned his MS in Operations Analysis.

One year after graduation, returning from his first deployment in the Pacific, he hurried east to marry Donna Josephine Blair on June 25,1960. Throughout their marriage, Donna was his supportive and loving life-mate.

During the next 25 years Dennis served on a series of ships: a destroyer, the USS Enterprise twice, a cruiser, 2 fast frigates, commanding the USS Ouellet and as the commissioning Commanding Officer of the USS Arkansas. It was during that command that he entered into a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and became a born-again Christian

After retiring from the Navy in 1984, he worked in Georgia Power’s nuclear division, Atlanta, Georgia, later relocating to Vidalia, Georgia, where he served on the management staff of their nuclear-powered generating station. Next, as a General Manager he went to Southern Nuclear Corporate headquarters, Birmingham, Alabama.

In 2000 he retired from Southern Nuclear and moved with Donna to Nairobi, Kenya, to serve with Rafiki Foundation and Bible Study Fellowship International (BSF). There he was the construction manager and first director of a Rafiki Orphanage. In 2005, he began to work full-time with BSF serving in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Retiring from BSF in 2012, and returning to Birmingham, he remained active in the church, BSF, local Bible Studies and other charitable organizations. Through it all God continued to teach Dennis the importance of gratitude. He was truly grateful for all God had given him: a caring wife, children, grandchildren, friends, and a deep appreciation for God, His Word, His creation and short -term opportunities to help Rafiki in Uganda and Malawi.

He is survived by his devoted wife of 63 years, Donna Blair Read. His children: Holly (Read) and Mick Larrabee; Le Dung and Thi Truong; Drew and Michelyn (McClure) Read: Joseph Mbabu. His grandchildren: Tyler, Ryan, and Dylan Larrabee; Tate Truong; Tristan and Sutton Read.

Services will be held on Sunday, 4 February at 4 pm at Saint Peter’s Anglican Church, (3207 Montevallo Rd., Birmingham, Alabama) with interment at Arlington National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Dennis’s memory may be made to St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Bible Study Fellowship International, Rafik Foundation, or Paul Anderson Youth Home.

Click here to link to the AL.COM obituary.