Remembering Chip Dence, a Gifted Craftsman, Builder, Leader and Statesman
Chip's career in the building safety industry was marked by a deep passion for every endeavor he undertook.
Calvin “Chip” Dence Jr., of Victoria, TX, who was born Oct. 13, 1948, in South Lancaster, MA, passed away on Jan. 6, 2024. Chip’s distinguished career in the building safety industry was marked by a deep passion for every endeavor he undertook. He ardently supported both the building industry and the next generation of construction trades professionals throughout his lifetime.
At the age of 17, Chip embarked on his journey to become a corporate pilot at the Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology in Tulsa, OK, where he obtained his Commercial Pilot Certification and began flying mail from Victoria to Houston and Dallas.
During his career as a pilot, Chip accumulated over 10,000 hours of flight time and obtained many certificates, including:
- Airline Transport Pilot
- Airframe and Powerplant Aviation Mechanic
- Certified Flight Instructor Instrument
- Visual Flight
- Instrumentation Flight Rating
In 1984, Chip became the co-owner of East End Lumber Co. and East End Builders. He was an active member of the Crossroads Builders Association (formerly named Builders Association of Victoria), the Texas Association of Builders and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
Chip was a staunch advocate for builders and homeowners, dedicating countless hours to the development and adoption of safe and affordable building codes including the International Code Council, Texas Department of Insurance Windstorm Code and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Coastal Construction Manual.
He chaired multiple state and national committees and in recognition of his contributions, he received many honors including:
- Builder Member of the Year six times at the Crossroads Builders Association
- Texas Association of Builders Ted Schlossman Lifetime Achievement Award
- Texas Association of Builders Remodeler of the Year Award
- Texas Association of Builders J.B. Sandlin Builder of the Year Award
- Texas Association of Builders Best Historic Restoration Star Award
One of his most proud professional moments was being inducted into the Texas Housing Hall of Honor by the Texas Association of Builders in 2017.
“Chip Dence was passionate about tackling the affordability crisis and the key issues related to building codes and standards to ensure a robust housing market. He was a strong advocate for home builders, remodelers and their trade partners to step up to keep housing safe and affordable for home buyers at the state and local level. He regularly participated in numerous Code Council Code Hearings, both committee action hearings and public comment hearings and also served on the NAHB Construction Codes & Standards Committee and its subcommittees for many years. NAHB is grateful for his contributions to keeping housing safe and affordable for home buyers,” said Neil Burning, Vice President, Construction Codes & Standards, NAHB.
Beyond his professional achievements, Chip had a wide range of interests and passions. He cherished his loving wife, Mary Jane, and enjoyed spending time with her at their cabin in New Mexico. Chip also loved playing golf, a game he picked up at the youthful age of 65 and soon mastered, averaging 300 games a year to the very end. He enjoyed fishing and honing his skills as a chef, wine connoisseur and harvester of chili petin.
Chip is survived by his beloved wife, Mary Jane, and his siblings: Joyce Kendall, Gloria Raymond, Melody Chase, David Dence, Marvin Dence, Stephen Dence, and LaVern Dence. He was preceded in death by his father, Calvin Dence, Sr., and his mother, Ursula Thurnheer Dence.
Chip was a major contributor to the Texas Builders Foundation, which provides students working toward a construction certification, license, or degree with scholarships. A donation fund has been created in his memory, you can contribute here www.TexasBuildersFoundation.org/make.