On Dec. 11, 1941, Hugh was drafted into the U.S. Army and, after basic training, was assigned to Company F, 18th Engineer Brigade and would see duty working on the Al-Can Highway from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, to the White River near the Alaska/Canada border. He later assisted in the construction of numerous airfields in the Aleutian Islands and ultimately went to Shemya Island, the launching base for B-29 bombers attacking Japan. In October 1945, Sgt. Hugh Denson was honorably discharged and returned to Canton.
Denson Construction Co. began in 1946, and as it grew in size, Hugh hired his semi-retired father and brother to assist him. Hugh remained at the helm until he “retired” around 1981 when his sons, Jim and Joe, assumed the responsibility of the business. Hugh, along with Bill Curtis and A.E. Dennis, developed the Green Acres residential addition. He was also responsible for the Cumberland Road and Jeff Davis residential developments. Hugh built many of the homes in the Green Acres area, the first building for Green Acres Baptist Church, Green Acres Shopping Center, Green Acres Bowling Alley, French Quarter Shopping Center, Tyler Federal Building, Tyler Savings and Loan Building (currently Compass Bank-Bergfeld) and numerous medical and educational facilities throughout East Texas. Hugh was most excited when his son, grandson and granddaughter, working for Denson Construction Co., replaced the W.A. Peete and Andy Woods elementary schools some 50-plus years after he had constructed the original campuses.
Hugh volunteered to sit with hospice patients from 1990 to 1997. In January of this year, at the age of 94, Hugh received training to once again become a hospice volunteer but did not receive an assignment before his health began to fail. Hugh also volunteered with Meals on Wheels for 26 years, served on its board of directors and often did multiple routes every day of the week. He was named “Outstanding Volunteer” by the Junior League of Tyler in 2005 for being “instrumental in fighting hunger in our community” and received an award for “Outstanding Service to Our Community” from Meals on Wheels last month.
In 2002, at the age of 83, Hugh met and married Eva. They were active members of TASCA when they were not spending time with family or traveling. He also regularly met with his Citizen’s Bank “Coffee Clutch.”
Hugh Denson did have a blessed life and was ready for God to take him.
He was preceded in death by his father and mother; son, John Edwin Denson; brother, Billy Denson; and sisters, Hope Higgins and Ruth Fricks.
Survivors include his wife, Eva Denson; sister, Joann McClabb; Camille Elias Denson (widow of deceased son, John); sons, James Hugh Denson and wife Linda, Joseph Powell Denson and fiancée Tammy Smith; he was affectionately known as Pa Pa by grandchildren, Michael Todd Denson, John Bradley Denson and wife Beth, Matthew Reed Denson and wife Chalease, Jeffery Hugh Denson and wife Jennifer, Catherine Michelle Denson, Julie Powell Denson Meek and husband Tanner; great-grandchildren, Lucas Johnathan, Taylor Elizabeth, Madison Ann, Madison Elise, Ella Ruth, Makenzie Paxton, Jacob Hugh, Tucker Powell and Catherine Sloan.
A funeral service celebrating the life of Hugh Denson will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012, in the chapel of Burks Walker Tippit Funeral Home with Dr. Chris Pulliam officiating. Burial will follow in Rose Hill Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Gary Bayless, Billy Connella, R.C. Curtis, Richard Davis, Mitch Denson, Richard Denson, Todd Denson, Mark Kempf and Mike Powell. Honorary pallbearers will be the Citizen Bank Coffee Clutch and Disciple Class, First Christian Church.
The family will receive friends from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday at Burks Walker Tippit, 215 E. Front St., Tyler.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Meals on Wheels, P.O. Box 5475, Tyler, 75712-5475; or The Hospice of East Texas Foundation, 4111 University Blvd., Tyler, 75701.