Dennis Patrick MacQuilliam, 58

May 1, 2019

Dennis Patrick MacQuilliam, 58, of Hollywood, MD died on April 29, 2019, died from bladder cancer, surrounded by his family in their home overlooking Cuckold Creek.

He was born in Warrenton, VA-the youngest of six siblings, to the late John Joseph and Christine Lee MacQuilliam.

Dennis spent his younger years with his best friend, Kevin, riding his bicycles down dirt roads, through creek beds and woods of what has grown up to become the city of Manassas. He attended Stonewall Jackson High School in Virginia, moved to Georgia with his mother for his senior year and graduated from Henderson High School in Chamblee. After high school he spent 4 years honorably serving the U.S. in the Navy from 1981-1985 as a jet engine mechanic. He served aboard the supply ship, USS Sacramento, for a WESTPAC tour; and closed out his Navy years at Naval Air Station Meridian, MS.

Dennis started his post-navy career working for the telephone company, following in his parents’ footsteps. He started out as a draftsman, then was on the cutting edge of fiber optics, and later digitizing the local telephone business using CAD. If you’ve ever been to Atlanta, the fiber optics bringing connectivity to your business or home were run under the city as part of a project Dennis oversaw. During his career with the Phone Company and eventually Northrop Grumman, he balanced work, family and pursued his secondary education, getting his Associates, and then his Bachelors Degree from East Carolina University, finishing shortly after the birth of his daughter, Leah. Dennis returned to the world of the military when moving to Maryland and worked for 14 years for Northrop Grumman, which was a complete career change. He retired from Grumman in 2017 and started to work for a local company, JF Taylor, Inc. He would tell you over and over again that was his dream job-his last 2 years of work were the best in his lifetime. In that short time he learned to fly helicopters, cargo planes and fighter jets while working on and testing the simulators. To see his face light up when talking about the people he worked with and the greatness of the company was a testament to the impact they made on his life in just a short time.

In 1993, Dennis met his wife of 22 years, Heather MacQuilliam, while she was a student at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. They married after she graduated, and began their family together in Greenville. They have 3 wonderful children together: Eric Owen, Bay Liam and Leah Rose. Dennis was the ultimate provider for his family-he helped coach the boys’ soccer teams when they were younger, watched violin, guitar and piano recitals, went to swim meets, and supported Heather as she homeschooled all three children. He often said that he was learning how to be a good father to his children-God gifted him with common sense, discernment, and wisdom; and taught him to show unconditional love, humility and forgiveness on a level he had not experienced before. His children were his most frequent source of worry and his biggest source of pride. He was unfailing in his love and devotion to his family.

Dennis loved planning the next big trip. He had a keen sense of adventure and taught his children how to vacation well. Many exciting family outdoor vacations-several spent with Heather’s extended family as well-were enjoyed over the years. From RVing across the country to 4-wheeling in Alaska, the trips were action packed and always memorable. Dennis brought humor into everything he did and rarely took anything too seriously. Everyone in the family can attest to his love of laugh-out-loud YouTube videos. He was a musician at heart-music must have literally run through his veins. He had many guitars over the years, and the wall of guitars he shared with his musically gifted children speaks volumes. For every situation, Dennis pulled a song lyric out of his head-most of which none of us had ever heard and we’d laugh when we realized he wasn’t making it up. He could play any classic rock guitar riff by ear-never did learn to read music-but that didn’t stop him from rockin’ it out. He spent years with his wife Heather leading music in the Navigators at ECU and then at their church in NC-always bringing a little rock-and-roll to the worship music. Dennis was also a master, self-taught cabinet maker. A visit to his home would quickly demonstrate his gift of turning wood into beautiful, fine furniture. He was an avid handyman-there wasn’t a job he couldn’t handle around the house, whether it was building new rooms, plumbing, electrical, laying flooring, installing windows or roofing a barn. He lived life to the fullest-he enjoyed Big Hair radio, bicycling, bad jokes, sailing, banana pudding & chocolate cake, playing frisbee golf, kayaking, Jeeps, camping, taking naps, riding his Harley Davidson motorcycles (and proudly wearing his Harley t-shirt collection), mowing the lawn, Chick-Fil-A sweet tea, cleaning, shopping, lounging in a hammock, Mexican Coke & Mexican food, swimming, and decorating for the holidays.

In addition to his beloved wife, Heather, Dennis is also survived by their children: Eric, Bay and Leah; his siblings and their families: John & Jennifer MacQuilliam (Stacey & Matthew: Zoe, Cameron & Noah); Karen Richardson (Lauren); Mike & Debbie MacQuilliam (Jonathan & Leslie: Greyson & Emily; Maggi & Sean); Kevin MacQuilliam (Julie & Clayton; Micheal) and Colleen & Bill Shipp (Ehud & Cassie:Wyatt & Colton) and many aunts, uncles and cousins. He is preceded in death by his parents, John Joseph and Christine Lee MacQuilliam.

Family will receive friends on Monday, May 6, 2019 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., with a Celebration of Life Service led by Pastor Todd Crofford at 3:00 p.m. at Real Life Wesleyan Church, 27399 Old Village Road, Mechanicsville, MD. Interment will be private.

Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of St. Mary’s, P.O. Box 625, Leonardtown, MD 20650 and Real Life Wesleyan Church, 27399 Old Village Road, Mechanicsville, MD 20659.

Dennis’ bout with cancer was only a momentary struggle compared to the richness of his life. He would want you to know that his faith in God was his lifeline and drawing close to Jesus was all that really ever mattered. He worked diligently, vacuumed the house religiously, loved his family fiercely, and trusted God wholeheartedly right up until the moment he went to be with his Savior in peace.

Condolences may be made to the family at

Arrangements by the Brinsfield Funeral Home, P.A.