Dennis “Denny” V. Rozsa, a longtime Santa Monica resident and former veteran officer with the Santa Monica Police Department, passed away March 25. He was 89.

Rozsa and his wife, Patti, were lovingly married for 63 years and even the struggles of Alzheimer’s couldn’t extinguish the twinkle in his eye when she held his hand, his family said. Thanks to her devoted care, and the invaluable help of their family, Rozsa was able to remain at home through the difficult years of his sickness.

Born July 20, 1922 in Hyrum, UT to Varnell and Trilby Rozsa, Dennis moved to Los Angeles/Santa Monica at the age of 2 and never wanted to live anywhere else.

After three years as a gunner in the U.S. Navy Rozsa returned home, and while at Santa Monica City College, he met Patti, whom he married in 1949. He was a record-setting halfback at the college and was undefeated as an amateur boxer in the Navy and at SMCC.

The couple raised seven children, who are all still close.

On a whim, Rozsa decided to test for the Santa Monica Police Department “just for a summer job,” his family said. He retired in 1969 after 20 years on the force.

One of the highlights of his life was a chance to actually spar with boxer Sugar Ray Leonard. After retirement, Rozsa established Referral Motors on Olympic Boulevard, which he ran with his sons for many years.

Rozsa loved Hawaii, Mexico, a good steak, his family, friends and fellow policemen. He also loved patrolling the pier on his Harley Davidson three-wheeler police motorcycle.

But more than anything, Rozsa loved to laugh and make everyone around him have more fun, his family said.

Rozsa is survived by his wife, Patricia “Patti” Mae (Bentz); their children Susie, Steve, Jimmy, Denny Jr., Gary, Chris and Tommy; and 11 grandchildren.