The Coastal Star

BRINY BREEZES — Orville Lynn Deniston died Jan. 22, age 86, in the same way he lived his life — quietly and with dignity. Mr. Deniston loved life, especially his family, fishing, square dancing, teaching, traveling, and his adopted Florida home.

Lynn Deniston, as he was known, came from simple means. After the sudden death of his father when Mr. Deniston was 20 months old, he was raised by his mother, Lenore, and stepfather in between Wapakoneta and Uniopolis, Ohio.

A member of the Future Farmers of America, he went to Ohio State University on a scholarship where his aim was to learn how to be a better farmer. In addition to his studies Mr. Deniston worked at a gas station and was a member of the ROTC.

While in Columbus, he met and subsequently married Carol Pierce. Together they moved to Quantico, Va., for his training in the Marines. Later he was assigned to Oceanside, Calif., where Terry was born. In the next few years the couple welcomed their second daughter, Kathy.

Over time, Mr. Deniston’s work as a health inspector led him to pursue more education. He earned a master of public health at the University of California, Berkeley.

His work as a sanitation inspector led to interesting family vacations, visiting water treatment plants and attending the National Association of Sanitarians conferences.

The family moved to Ann Arbor, Mich., where Mr. Deniston worked as a research associate and eventually earned his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan.

It was within the School of Public Health that Mr. Deniston found his career calling: teaching. In 1994, when he retired and was granted emeritus status, the University Record reported, “He was revered for an ‘open-door policy’ that found him eager to devote long hours to working with individual students.” 

Throughout his adult years, Mr. Deniston also taught anyone who was even slightly interested how to fish. He loved his fishing boat, Do It, and spent countless hours on Lake Michigan and later in the waters off Florida.

Mr. Deniston loved people, as evidenced by the large number he “adopted” and considered family over the years. After Carol Deniston lost her battle with cancer, he found Helen, who happily shared his life for 22 years.

Mr. Deniston’s Briny Breezes retirement “family” offered much to involve him, but especially square dancing. The couple also enjoyed travel to Alaska and other destinations, until Helen’s Alzheimer’s disease brought an end to their travels. Mr. Deniston cared for his wife through her decline and until her death.

Nevertheless, he was probably happiest in his home, with his garden, at Briny Breezes gatherings, or when “family” came visiting.

In the final weeks of Mr. Deniston’s life, hampered by Parkinson’s disease, he knew he “was ready to go.” This was especially fitting because of his evaluative work with quality of life measures.

Mr. Deniston is survived by his daughter Terry and her children, Kelsey and Max, along with her grandson, Ryker. Also, he leaves behind daughter, nurse and care-provider, Kathy, and her daughters, Sarah and Angie.

He is survived by Helen’s daughter, Kristin, and her husband, Craig, and their sons, Nick and Chris. Finally, he will be missed by countless adopted “children” whom he loved and who loved him right back. 

A celebration of his life will be 5-7 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Briny Breezes clubhouse.

In the meantime, the family suggests drinking a can of cheap beer or enjoying a glass of wine from a box while remembering a favorite story about Lynn Deniston.

Donations in his memory can be made to a charity of your choice or to the Briny Breezes Memorial Fund to keep the chimes ringing.

—Obituary submitted by the family

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