Denis Lazarus Obituary

Denis R Lazarus
Denis R Lazarus

May 6, 1940 - April 23, 2021
Born in Norwich, Kansas
Resided in Wasilla, Alaska


Denis Lazarus, beloved husband and devoted father and grandfather, passed away peacefully in Wasilla, Alaska, on April 23, 2021. He is survived by his wife, Betty Vehrs of Wasilla; brother, Gary Lazarus (Carol) of Georgetown, Texas; son, Jon Lazarus (Keri) of Salem, Ore.; stepdaughters, Jill Santiago (Ernie) of Mt. Vernon, Wash., Bonnie Rud (Henry Smith) of Wasilla and Diana Ramstad of Wasilla; three granddaughters, Thalia and Kinzie Lazarus, and Kelsey Stufflebeam; and several cousins.

Denis was born in Norwich, Kan., to Ruel and Melba Lazarus. Growing up there, he excelled in a number of sports with his older brother Gary. He went to college at Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., where he continued to play basketball and football on a school scholarship. Upon completing his law degree, he wanted to be more adventurous and see grand mountains. He decided to move to Anchorage a couple of years prior to the 1964 earthquake.

Alaska became his home, and in step with living his dreams, he learned to fly, eventually buying a super cub. He enjoyed the outdoors, hunting, fishing, skeet shooting and flying. Denis became state skeet shooting champion in 1975 and 1981 in singles and doubles, respectively. He enjoyed sharing his love of flying, hunting, and fishing to various places with his friends. Denis met his ex-wife Janet (Jones) in 1971, and had one son, Jon.

After working for the City of Anchorage, and being appointed Magistrate for a short time, he opened his law practice. Denis loved helping Alaskans with legal issues both criminal and civil in nature.

In 1984, Denis married Betty Vehrs and together they established a horse breeding farm in Wasilla. For many years he loved riding his horse Buck and supporting his stepdaughter Diana Ramstad at horse shows.

Denis finished his legal career in 2001, working for Municipal Light and Power for 10 years. He was a member of the Alaska Bar Association for over 50 years. When he finally retired from legal work completely, he enjoyed his animals during the day, visiting with family and friends, and telling stories around wood fires at night. In his spare time, Denis volunteered for the local crime stoppers, again helping Alaskans.

Denis had a good sense of humor, a deep laugh and many stories to share. Per his wishes, he wanted to be cremated without a funeral service. His son will host a celebration of his life to share those fun and memorable stories on Sunday afternoon, May 2, 2021, at a private home in Anchorage. Please email Jon at for time and location. Or if you want to write a short story of your memory of Denis, you are welcome to send it to Jon's email or post it on the memorial website.

The family wishes to thank the wonderful staff at Wickersham House in Wasilla for the kind, loving care they gave Denis during his last years. Rest in peace, loved and honored Alaskan.

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