Joseph Dean Denton


Joseph D. Denton, 50, of Shelbyville, IL, passed away on Wednesday, May 1, 2019.
Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:00 a.m. Monday, May 6, 2019 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Mattoon, IL with Father John Titus as Celebrant. Visitation will be from 9:00-10:00 a.m. Monday in the church. Following the service, a luncheon will be held in the Parish Center. Graveside services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Monday in the Potomac Cemetery, Potomac, IL with military honors. Memorials may be given to the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church of Mattoon.
"Joseph "Joe" Dean Denton was born January 24, 1969 to Dean L. Denton and Ann (Berry) Denton in Charleston, IL. Joe grew up primarily in Nebraska and Alaska under his stepfather's name, Robinson. As a youth Joe was an avid hunter into his teens. Joe had the privilege to hunt in some of the most challenging areas of Alaska, primarily in the Arctic. Joe later became an avid shooter in the area of marksmanship.
Eventually, Joe graduated where he started with his last name restored to Denton, from Charleston High School with Honors in 1987. After graduation, Joe joined the U.S. Navy serving first on the Battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62) in Long Beach, CA. Later, after extensive and intense training in what is now known as "Special Ops" Joe became the head of security for Long Beach Commander Admiral John Hogginson. Joe was involved in extensive security issues when representatives of the previous USSR came to Long Beach Naval Station as part of the SACT II Nuclear Treaty. Joe was commended for his role in this and after activities. Joe was recommended, and received, a full scholarship to the U.S. Naval Academy but for personal reasons could not attend. Joe traveled extensively to Asia and the Middle East.
Joe became a professional Firefighter, first at the now defunct University of Illinois Fire Department then the Champaign Illinois Fire Department. In March of 2000, Joe suffered a catastrophic injury to his back, left leg, and hip while carrying a woman from her residence during an emergency response. Joe would live the rest of this life in chronic pain and with titanium rods, bolts, and plates, "Keeping me together" as he joked. In 2010, he received a spinal implant which did wonders for his pain levels.
Despite this monumental hurdle, Joe took pride in helping those in need and giving back to his community. He was involved in Lions club, Habitat for Humanity, and the Mattoon Knights of Columbus where he was a 4th Degree Knight. Immaculate Conception in Mattoon, IL became Joe's spiritual home, presided over by Father John Titus, whom Joe was deeply impressed with and respected both as a man and as a Priest.
Joe served on various committees and Councils at Immaculate Conception. These included the reinstitution of 24 Adoration (hours) and was also involved with his Parish Council and the Legion of Mary, Joe was also a Cooperator in Opus Dei.
Joe had a passion for genealogy. He located several living cousins including Harry Selsor and his wife Shirley, and Cynthia Snider who assisted him with his membership application for Sons of the American Revolution, of which he became a member in 2017. His Patriot Ancestor was his 6th Great Grandfather Pennsylvania Militia Captain Martin Bowman. Joe eventually developed and became Chairman of the Public Safety Award Committee at the Ewington Chapter of the Illinois Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. Joe also discovered he had an ancestor at the Jamestown Colony, a man named Isaac Madison, the common ancestor Joe shared with eventual President James Madison.
He leaves behind his adored wife, Julie, beloved stepson Jordan, sisters Julie McCarty of California, Jane Robinson of Louisiana, and father Dean Denton of Canada. Joe also leaves behind his faithful and constant companion, his dog Taz.
Joe served his Country, his communities, and people in need in general. He was a staunch supporter of the First & Second Amendments and was an Endowment Member of the National Rifle Association. He was a 3-sport letterman and held physical fitness in high regard and the reason he was able to walk after his injury as a Firefighter. He will be missed by those who knew him."
Obituary as written by Joseph D. Denton.
Published on May 6, 2019
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