Dennis Gilbertson, 84, of Arden Hills, died Sept. 15, 2023. Dennis was born April 12, 1939, in Spring Valley, Wisconsin., to G. Lester and Vera (Stratton) Gilbertson. He was born with a caring soul that he shared with the world, a deep love of nature and a steadfast loyalty to family and friends.

Dennis earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin–River Falls, and a master’s degree from the UofM.

Dennis was a devoted educator, spending the majority of his 36-year career teaching biology, anatomy and other science classes in the Mounds View School District. His caring nature reached far beyond the classroom. Strangers quickly became friends, and as one said, “His friendship knew no boundary.”

Mistymoon Lake in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming was a cherished spot for Dennis. He and his wife, Claudia, spent many summers leading church and school groups as they backpacked to Mistymoon and beyond.

Dennis lived his life advocating for justice. His children remember being brought to protests and rallies at a very early age.

Dennis walked the talk by being a good example of loving all people. He devoted hundreds of hours of volunteer work in support of same-sex marriage. (An attempt to disallow it was soundly defeated in Minnesota.) In his last two years, he and Claudia joined Giving Voice — a choir for people living with dementia and their caregivers. He started singing more loudly in church and around the house while helping with chores.

Besides loving to sing, Dennis was a marathon runner, a scuba diver, a world traveler and he loved his church family at Peace Lutheran Church in Lauderdale.

Dennis was preceded in death by his parents and sisters Ruth Lynum and Carol Bergum. He is survived by his wife, Claudia, daughters Nancy (Chris) Erickson, Laura (Kent) Dirks, son Joel (Michelle Tolub), five grandchildren, and sister Vivian Mundt.

A Celebration of Life service was held at Peace Lutheran Church. Memorials preferred to Giving Voice ( or Peace Lutheran Church (

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