Dennis Leo Wilcott III, a retired Town of Amherst building inspector and longtime Navy Seabee, died Jan. 12 after a period of declining health. He was 81.
Born in Buffalo, the second of three children, he was the son of Dennis L. Wilcott II and Arlene Gross Wilcott. He was a 1960 graduate of Kensington High School, where he played tuba in the marching band and ran the 100-yard low hurdles with the track team.
He attended Erie County Technical Institute, later Erie Community College, and enlisted in the Navy. He served with the Seabees in the Vietnam War in 1964, where he helped to construct schools and buildings on bases, and signed up for a second tour in Vietnam in 1965.
Mr. Wilcott continued as a Seabee in the Navy Reserve and had a 35-year career, retiring as a senior master chief.
When his active duty in the Navy ended, he returned to do maintenance work on the Niagara Falls military base, then worked with his father’s home improvement company.
He became a building inspector for the Town of Amherst in the late 1980s and served for 20 years.
A skilled carpenter and cabinet maker, he was his family’s handyman. He built himself two homes in Amherst, as well as sheds and additions. He restored antiques and made many pieces of furniture, including a rolltop desk. His last projects were toy boxes for each of his grandchildren.
A golfer for many years, he also enjoyed fishing and hunting with friends.
His wife of 34 years, the former Judy Kerling, a registered nurse, died in 2016. A daughter, Wendy Wilcott Guftkowski, died in February 2023, less than a month after the death of his stepson, Mark Cifelli.
Survivors include a brother, Darrell; four grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
Services were held Tuesday in the chapel of Acacia Park Cemetery, Pendleton.
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