Our beloved Daniel Joseph Denefe, 49, of Austin, Texas, formerly of Ottumwa, passed from this life on Aug. 13, 2012. He was at home and passed peacefully, with his wife and two sons at his bedside, in the midst of a hard-fought battle against lung cancer.
He was blessed to have his incredible wit, the deep love of family and friends and his unwavering faith to the very end.
Dan was born in Ottumwa on Dec. 29, 1962, to Dr. James E. and Gretchen Y. Denefe. He lived there for most of his younger years and continued to visit family and friends in Ottumwa every summer. He spent a lot of quality time at the Ottumwa Country Club, where he developed a lifelong love of golf. He had many fond memories of time on the golf course with his dad and his brothers, and he continued this tradition with his own sons, both in Ottumwa and at River Place Country Club in Austin. His loving and gracious mother was a great blessing to him throughout his life and was instrumental in giving him a life grounded in faith.
Dan attended the University of Iowa and graduated with a B.B.A. in finance and a B.A. in economics in 1986. He really enjoyed the time that he and his wife spent in Iowa City — living, laughing and learning with good friends at their side. He was a steadfast Hawkeye fan.
Daniel J. Denefe and Kathryn E. Hennen were married at St. Mary of the Visitation Catholic Church in Ottumwa on May 19, 1984. This was their home parish, as both were born and raised in Ottumwa. They were very much in love — through thick and thin — throughout their 28 years together. They were blessed to be the very best of friends as well as husband and wife. They shared a deep and abiding faith that sustained them in times of trouble and increased their joy immeasurably. Their two greatest joys were their sons, Ian and Noah. Dan was an active, involved and loving dad. Every day, He made certain that Ian and Noah knew that he loved them and that he was so very proud of them. It was important for him to be a part of every aspect of his sons’ lives, and he made time with them for baseball and band, football and soccer, waterskiing and golf, car shows and hands-on car maintenance, and school activities of any kind. Dan and his family moved to Austin, from Dallas, in 1995 and were members of St. Theresa Catholic Church from the very first day. Dan was a regular usher/greeter at the 9 a.m. Mass on Sunday mornings for many years and was known for his quick smile and loving heart. He also served as head usher for the weekly school Mass. He taught many of the children of St. Theresa Catholic School how to serve God and their community through this ministry. He was unfailingly patient and an excellent teacher.
Dan was blessed to work for Carson Energy Inc. since 1989 and was named CEO in 2010. He loved his job and his Carson Energy family. He was an incredible example of hard work, determination, integrity and loyalty in the workplace and out, and will be greatly missed by all. He was so proud of what he and his business partner had built over the years and so very grateful for the privilege of that particular friendship.
He really enjoyed building a second business, Classic Rides Limousines, with his wife and his sons over the past two years. It was a wonderful family project that came with many opportunities for life lessons and the joy of tinkering with classic cars.
Dan is survived by his wife and their two sons, Ian M. and Noah J. Denefe, both of Austin. Ian is a senior at the University of Illinois and Noah is a sophomore at St. Michael’s Catholic Academy. He is also survived by his mother and two older brothers and their families, Terry (and Coleen) Denefe, of Ottumwa, their children Kate (and Jeff) Wenthe, of Marion, and Erin (and Greg) Schaffer, of Ankeny, and their two daughters, Samantha and Molly; John (and Carol) Denefe of Rogers, Ark., and their sons Andrew and Matthew. Dan is also survived by numerous brothers/sisters-in-law and their children on his wife’s side of the family, as well as by four godsons and one goddaughter. He loved to be surrounded by family and was frequently the life of the party.
Dan was a blessing to so many, but none were as blessed as his beloved wife and children to share his life. He gave and worked with a whole heart (as unto the Lord) and was always ready to respond with compassion and discernment to those in need. There is no replacing him, and we will all be walking around with a hole in our hearts until we meet him again in heaven. Dan fought his illness valiantly and without complaining. By his example, he showed that life was worth passionately pursuing and worth living, but he had peace in his heart about going home to the Father.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial contribution may be made to any of the following organizations: Catholic Charities of Central Texas, Hospice Austin, American Cancer Society, St. Theresa Catholic School or St. Michael’s Catholic Academy of Austin, Texas, or Ministries Network (93 S. Jackson St. #88398, Seattle, Wash. 98104-2818 — write “Life Project” in memo).
An hors d’ouevres reception will begin at 5 p.m. tonight until the rosary begins at 7 p.m. at Cook-Walden Funeral Home, 6100 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, Texas 78752.
On Saturday, the Mass of the Resurrection will be held at 11 a.m. at St. Theresa Catholic Church, 4311 Small Drive, Austin, Texas 78731. Following the Mass, there will be a reception hosted by the parish.