March 27, 1942 – April 21, 2022
Dennis A. Brockland passed away at his home in Morganton, Thursday, April 21, 2022, after a battle with cancer. He was 80 years old.
He is survived by his daughter, Margie Brockland-Nease and her husband, Vernon Nease, of Savannah, Ga.; by his son, Rob Brockland and his wife, Connie Walters Brockland, of Morganton; and by his grandchildren, Stephen Nease of Atlanta, Katie Brockland of Chapel Hill, Ellie Nease of Savannah, and Ben Brockland of Morganton.
Born in Sikeston, Mo., to Delta Airlines Pilot Barney Brockland and his wife, Marge Burdette Brockland, Dennis spent his childhood in Memphis, Tenn., before the family moved to Miami, Fla. He was the oldest of eight children. Predeceased by his youngest sister, Beth Mary Brockland, Dennis is survived by his sister, Kathleen Gibson and her husband, David; by his sister, Beverly Gilberti; and by his four brothers, Barry Brockland; Terry Brockland and his wife, Barbara, Tim Brockland, and Tom Brockland and his wife, Lizette. Dennis had 11 children and nephews and several grandchildren and grandnephews.
Dennis was a man of courage and curiosity who thrived on learning, facing new challenges, and using his time and experience in the service of others, particularly people striving to rebuild their lives after challenges. A corporal in the US Marine Corps during the Kennedy era, he went on to serve as a city police officer for Miami Beach, Fla., and for Savannah, Ga., where he became a detective, earned a degree in criminal justice, and was instrumental in developing community outreach and services including planning Savannah’s initial 9-1-1 emergency system. Moving to North Carolina in 1975 to become a community college instructor, he earned a master’s degree in public administration from Appalachian State University, and continued to pursue community service and development opportunities as an active volunteer.
He fought to improve employment conditions for college faculty in the late 1970s, while also working as an independent farmer, and eventually began to serve the needs of Burke area farmers as a North Carolina Farm Bureau insurance agent. He founded his own agency, the Brockland Company, in 1989, which merged with First Insurance in 1992 to become First Brockland Insurance, Inc. Dennis further expanded his community service outreach, sponsoring youth sports teams and supporting the Burke Literacy Council and Burke Council of Alcoholism, as well as the Flynn Christian Fellowship Home and Olive Hill Community Economic Development Corporation.
Once a Marine, always a Marine, in 2005 he helped found the Table Rock Detachment (1197) of the Marine Corps League in Morganton, leading the detachment to several awards for service and active membership and making the organization a state leader in community service. He served three terms as North Carolina Marine Corps League Commandant, and at his death he was still a lead organizer of his detachment’s Toys for Tots campaign, which has made a difference for thousands of Burke County families for over 17 years. In 2012, Dennis was recognized with the North Carolina Governor’s Volunteer Service Award.
Growing up, he honored the passions of his parents by serving as an altar boy and then beginning his working life as a pilot, crop dusting small Florida farms and orange groves, but he constantly pushed past boundaries to create new opportunities for himself and for others . While dedication to serving his fellow man shaped the arc of his life, his family also remember him as a lover of dogs, sports, puzzles and board games, books, bluegrass music, Krystal hamburgers, hiking, boating and flying. His faithful support of his God, his country and his family continued throughout his life.
Dennis’s family wish to thank Adriana Morris, BS, CNA; Daphne Ervin; Destiny Kanipe, CNA; Austin Davis, CNA; Samantha Vess, CNA; and AMOREM for their tireless and compassionate hospice care.
A memorial gathering of friends and family is scheduled for Sunday, May 15, at 3 pm, at the First Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall in Morganton.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Marine Corps League Table Rock Detachment 1197, PO Box 576, Morganton, NC 28680, or to the Flynn Home, a program of Burke Recovery (www.burkerecovery.com), 203 White St ., Morganton, NC 28655.
Sossoman Funeral Home
Published by The News Herald on May 11, 2022.