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Dennis Leon Cordell, Sr.

March 22, 1948 ~ March 14, 2024 (age 75) 75 Years Old


Dennis Leon Cordell Sr., of Alexandria, Virginia, passed away on Thursday, March 14, 2024. He was the loving father of Dennis L. Cordell Jr. (Sarai Johnson,) Rebecca L. Cordell Thompson (Jonathan Thompson,) and Amanda J. Casey (Sean Casey.) He was the devoted PopPop to Benjamin, Caroline, Campbell, Ella, and Margaux. He also has a large extended family who felt his joy and love. He is preceded in death by his beloved wife, Linda Joyce Cordell, sister, Alice Stoner, and parents, Joseph and Maybelle Cordell.

Dennis was born in Munich, Germany on March 22, 1948. His parents, Joseph and Maybelle Cordell, stationed in Germany with the Air Force at the time, adopted him shortly after birth. When they returned to the U.S., he became the youngest person to be naturalized as a U.S. citizen in Puerto Rico. Joseph’s service in the Air Force allowed Dennis to experience living in multiple places including Germany, Puerto Rico, and Michigan before calling Alexandria home.

Dennis attended George Washington High School. He represented the “Prexies,” by playing football, basketball, and baseball. After graduating in 1966, he attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia where he majored in History. He worked his way through school as a server at the famous King’s Arms Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg. In fact, he introduced the sweet potato recipe from the King’s Arms to the family and it has become a traditional recipe at family holidays. In college, he enjoyed riding his motorcycle down peaceful Route 5 and was an active member in his beloved fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha. After graduation in 1970, Dennis moved back to Alexandria to teach history at Parker Gray Middle School and began pursuing his Master’s degree in History at George Mason University.

Shortly after moving back, he reconnected with a high school friend and fellow teacher, Joyce Dakin. They married in August 1973, had three children, and were together until her passing in 2008.

Dennis taught cumulatively for 39 years, moving to George Washington Middle School, after Parker Gray closed. He also taught night school and summer school. Dennis retired from Alexandria City Public Schools in 2009.

While teaching, he coached the girls' crew team for T.C. Williams High School (now known as Alexandria City) in the 1980s. Although he never rowed himself, he was a great instructor, whom the girls affectionately nicknamed “Uncle Chunky.” He gained so much respect and love from his success at T.C. crew that they named a shell (boat) after him. He began coaching Little League baseball while his son, Dennis “Denny” Jr., played as a young boy and continued even after his son moved on, coaching for a total of 15 years.

As his children grew, he passionately supported them in their team sports including basketball, football, soccer, field hockey and lacrosse. His favorites were baseball, football, and golf. His favorite teams were the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Green Bay Packers, though he had a hometown love for the Redskins, Nationals, and Capitals as well, attending many games with family.

In the family, Dennis was famous for his French Toast and Chocolate Chip Pancakes; after sleepovers, his nieces and nephews were always excited for his “Uncle Dennis French Toast.” Dennis also enjoyed attending amusement parks with his kids. He even made it to Disney with his grandchildren and went on coasters with them!

He was a longtime member of Del Ray Baptist Church where he was baptized, became a deacon, and served as the treasurer for many years.

In retirement, he enjoyed many golfing trips with friends. In 2010, he adopted his beloved Tony, a mini schnauzer who was truly “man’s best friend.” They enjoyed walking by the Potomac River and driving around the area to see the sights. He loved visiting with his 5 grandchildren, Benjamin, Caroline, Campbell, Ella, and Margaux. They were true lights in his life and would do anything for them that he could.

Besides his love of family and sports, he enjoyed dancing to Motown, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones. He loved chocolate and ice cream, his motto was “ice cream fills in the cracks” no matter what you have eaten before. He loved a good joke and BIG hugs. He is so loved and missed by his family and friends!

Visitation will be held at the EVERLY-WHEATLEY FUNERAL HOME, 1500 W. Braddock Rd., Alexandria, VA 22302 on Thursday, March 21st, from 5 to 8 p.m. A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, March 23rd, at 11 a.m. at the Del Ray Baptist Church, 2405 Russell Rd., Alexandria, VA 22301. Interment to follow at Mt. Comfort Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please make contributions in memory of Dennis L. Cordell, Sr. to the Dementia Society of America by mail to PO Box 600, Doylestown, PA 18901, or online

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dennis Leon Cordell, Sr., please visit our floral store.


March 21, 2024

5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home
1500 West Braddock Road
Alexandria, VA 22302

Celebration of Life
March 23, 2024

11:00 AM
Del Ray Baptist Church
2405 Russell Road
Alexandria, VA 22301

Interment to Follow

Mount Comfort Cemetery
6600 S. Kings Hwy
Alexandria, VA 22306


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