LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - One of Angelina County's leading citizens died Tuesday.
Funeral services for former Temple president and CEO Joe C. Denman are scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday at Lufkin's First United Methodist Church.
According to an obituary that appeared on the Carroway Funeral Home Web site, Denman was born in Lufkin on Sept. 30, 1923. He died Tuesday.
"Mr. Denman was married for 66 years to the "love of his life" Virginia Elizabeth (Ginia Beth) Cox," the obituary stated. "He was a graduate of Lufkin High School and Texas A&M University."
After he graduated from high school, Denman went to Texas A&M University on a football scholarship in the fall of 1942. However, before the year ended, he left Texas A&M to join the U.S. Navy. During World War II, Denman served as a lieutenant. He was a naval aviator and an assistant squadron administrative officer.
After Denman worked with the Experimental Aircraft Association, their combined efforts resulted in a World War II-era U.S. Navy airplane being brought into be part of a WWII memorial at the Angelina County Airport in 2008.
According to a previous East Texas News story, it was the same type of plane that Denman saw when he enlisted in the Navy.
"In front of it was a pilot standing in his Navy whites with gold wings, and we stood there and looked at that and decided that the girls would like the uniform, so we went and joined the Navy instead of joining the Army," Denman said in 2008.
Denman returned to Texas A&M after the war, according to the obituary. After he earned a degree in architecture, Denman went to work for the Southern Pine Lumber Company in Diboll as a professional engineer.
"He served as President of Temple Industries from 1972 to 1977," the obituary stated. "When Temple Industries was acquired by Time, Inc. in 1973, he became an Executive Vice-President and a member of the Board of Directors of Time, Inc. Mr. Denman became President and CEO of Temple-Eastex in 1977 and Chairman of the Board in 1983."
After he retired, Denman became interested in aviation again. Along those lines, he helped found the Young Eagles Program at the Angelina County Airport. In addition, Denman was passionate about researching his family history, the obituary stated. As a result of that passion, he found and restored a missing family cemetery in Georgia.
"He became a rancher in the Hill Country of Texas where he had spent much time hunting as a boy with his father and grandfather," the obituary stated. "He enjoyed connecting with high school, Navy and college friends. The Wisdom Group added much fun to his retirement years."
Denman served on the boards of Temple-Inland Inc., First Bank & Trust East Texas, CRS Group, First Bank of Conroe, Memorial Medical Center, and Angelina College. He was also active with Texas A&M's President's Council, the Angelina County of Commerce, the Diboll School Board, and the Diboll Booster Club.
Denman received the Angelina Award in 2010 for his community service. He was also inducted into the Texas Forestry Museum Hall of Fame. In addition, Denman was honored with the Texas A&M Distinguished Alumnus Award and the Texas A&M Distinguished Architecture Alumnus Award.
"Great people of East Texas right here. They really won the award, not me. It's the Angelina County award and I've just excepted it for them," Denman said in 2010 when he was honored with the Angelina Award.
"Mr. Denman was a longtime member of the United Methodist Church," the obituary stated. "He enjoyed a wonderful, full life, made possible largely by all who shared his enthusiasm for life here in Angelina County and East Texas."
The Rev. D. Nick Sholars will officiate at Denman's funeral. A reception will be held in the Allen Parlor after the services.