Rebbie Frank Denton, longtime Texas Baptist pastor, development officer and denominational executive, died Feb. 7. He was 93. He was born June 17, 1926, to Lee Wood Denton and Winnie Davis Green in Lufkin and grew up in Clawson. After he graduated from high school at age 16, he worked for the Lufkin Foundry until he enlisted in the U.S. Navy at age 17 with his mother’s permission. Denton served in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II as the radio operator on the USS Terror, a fleet minelayer. He survived a kamikaze attack that killed 41, left seven missing and wounded 123, as well as two typhoons in Okinawa. Those traumatic events had a significant impact on his spiritual journey and eventual call to ministry. After his discharge from the military, Denton attended Baylor University, where he met and married Dottie Juanez Austin. He completed his Bachelor of Divinity degree at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and served several Texas congregations as pastor, including churches in Fort Worth, Rainbow, Nemo, Val Verde and Quitman before moving to First Baptist Church in Ferguson, Mo. In 1963, he accepted a position as secretary of endowment and capital giving for the Baptist General Convention of Texas, followed by positions of director of development and public relations for Buckner Baptist Benevolences, executive director/treasurer of the Missouri Baptist Foundation, associate director of development for Southwestern Seminary in Southeast Texas and consultant for the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation. After his retirement, he embarked on a second career as a country poet, singer and songwriter. He performed numerous times with Hank Thompson and the Brazos Valley Boys, in addition to many solo appearances at meetings, conventions and group events. After a cancer diagnosis and during and after chemotherapy treatments, he took on the self-appointed role of chaplain at a local oncology center, where he ministered several years to patients, staff and doctors. He spent his final years at his son’s ranch outside of San Antonio. He was preceded in death by his wife of 46 years, Dottie; one brother; and two sisters. He is survived by his son Lowell Denton and wife of St. Hedwig, daughter Laura Denton Hill of McQueeney, and son Lloyd Denton and wife Nurtac of Munich, Germany; nine grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and one sister, Jo Anne Smith of Tyler.
Obituary: Frank Denton
March 9, 2020