Hugh “Bob” Denney

Posted on Friday, November 16, 2012 at 10:19 am

Hugh Robert (“Bob”) Denney, 91, of Portland Ore., formerly of Louisiana, died at home on Nov. 5, 2012.

The son of Homer C. and Myrtle Jefferson Denney, he was born on a farm near Redding, Iowa, on July 5, 1921. He attended church two weeks later and remained an active Methodist all his life.

As a boy, he tilled fields with a horse-drawn cultivator, milked the family cows, and took classes in the same the one-room schoolhouse his father had attended.

To complete high school he traveled to Mt. Ayr, Iowa, and boarded in a private home. He graduated in 1938 and enrolled at Iowa State University in 1940. There he pledged Acacia fraternity, waiting tables at the house to earn room and board.

Later he said that he learned as much in the house as in the classroom.

In 1942, he enlisted in the Navy and trained as a medical corpsman. He was posted to Boston in time to do ambulance duty the night of the Cocoanut Grove fire.

Later, he served ashore in a hospital in Recife, Brazil, and aboard ships that took him to ports as distant as Pearl Harbor and Mers el Kebir. Discharged in 1946, he returned to Iowa State,  graduating on June 12, 1948. He married the former Maxine Zihlmann eight days later.

On July 1 he began work with the Iowa State extension service, soon becoming a county agent. In 1951, the couple moved to Nashua, Iowa, where they operated an orchard and began to raise a family.

Ten years later they moved to Charles City, Iowa, where Bob became vice president of Sherman’s Nurseries.

They moved to Louisiana in 1966, when Bob became the head of the commercial sales department of Stark Brothers Nursery, a position from which he retired in 1965.

All of Bob’s children are graduates of Louisiana High School, and many of the trees in Louisiana’s parks grew from saplings he planted when he headed the city’s park board.

Bob was an active member of the American Association of Nursery-men throughout his career and chairman of the National Horti-cultural Standards Committee from 1979-1987.

In 1992 he and Maxine relocated to Portland, Ore., to be near their son Jon and Portland Nursery, in which Jon and Bob had been partners since 1980.

His sister Bernice Webster preceded him in death. He is survived by his children, Marjorie Hunt, Martha Denney, Jon Denney, and Jeanne Denney, by seven grandchildren, and by his wife Sylva Denney and her children.

Funeral services were held  Nov. 10 at the Tabor Heights Methodist Church, in Portland, Ore.  Visitation was from 1-5 Nov. 9, at Holmans Funeral Services in Portland, Ore.

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