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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Leaving a lasting memory

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rob Denker sits with his children (from left) Hannah, Benjamin and Noah during a trip to Disney World. Courtesy Photo. [Order this photo]
Certain individuals have a way of touching lives, even after their death. For many people, Robert Lee Denker Jr. was one of those individuals.

The Denkers moved to Clay County in 1992. He was a North Clay Middle School teacher from 1997-2004, and taught Spanish Education.

"He loved teaching, especially the junior high level students, he loved that age group," wife Lisa Denker said as a smile flashed across her face. "And they liked him."

When the Denkers joined the Carbon Baptist Church in 1999, Rob discovered the youth programs were his calling.

"We began volunteering more with the youth groups in the church. In 2001 he was made a part-time youth pastor, and in 2004 he started full-time," Lisa said. "It was his calling, he was able to talk to the kids, and they opened up to him. He helped a lot of them."

Rob had many jobs in his life, but being a father was his favorite.

"He loved his children, anywhere that you saw one of us, you saw all five of us," Lisa said. "He was a very good father and very active with his children."

When the diagnosis was colon cancer, neither Rob nor Lisa kept it from the children. Benjamin, 14, and Hannah, 12, both students at Clay City Junior/Senior High School, and Noah, 11, who attends Clay City Elementary. They knew everything that was going on, and were with their mother at the hospital when they were told how sick their dad was.

"Our children where there for everything," Lisa said. "They are my saving grace."

Rob Denker
Before his death, Rob made sure his children would always know how much he loved them.

"He wrote the children notes and he spent as much time with them as possible. Family is very important to us," she said.

Time eases pain, but after three years it is still hard at times.

"Some days are easier than others, and you always have those days where you feel like you are on a rollercoaster," Lisa said. "But my faith in the Lord has helped. We never questioned his death, we knew that he would end up in a better place and healthy again. That helps more than anything"

The community came together when Rob was diagnosed and did what it could to help the family.

"The community was there for my family," Lisa said. "Even all these years later, they are still there."

The first golf scramble for Rob was in 2003.

"The proceeds from that went to the youth group," Lisa said. " The last three have gone into a scholarship fund in his name."

Each year, one local high school senior will be the recipient of a $500 scholarship that can be used to help pay the cost of a post secondary education.

"Rob was a friend and confidant for my children," Coordinator of the Golf Scramble Brad Deal said. "I think he would've liked this."

"The scholarship was a great idea, and Brad has worked so hard to put it together with members and businesses in the community," Lisa said. "He has really made this into an event. It combines two things that Rob loved, kids and school."

"The scholarship gives students a chance to further their education," Deal said. "We thought this was a great way for him to be remembered and to continue to help the kids."

"Everyone that participates has a great time," Lisa said. "It is friendly, and family oriented. That was what Rob would've liked about it."

Though Lisa doesn't play, the oldest son Benjamin usually does.

"Benjamin couldn't play this year, he had cross country," she said. "But he has in the past and if he had the time, he would've."

Lydia Farmer, of Clay City, was the latest recipient of the scholarship.

"It was such a joy for us," Lisa said. "The children and I were able to present her with it, and it was really a neat experience."

Lisa was adamant when speaking about Rob's legacy.

"It is very important, the lives he touched and the good he did for the area youth. I think that the children will appreciate knowing that their dad will be remembered, and he is still working with the kids, just in a different way," she said.

Lisa was honest when she responded to the communities' involvement in the scholarship program.

"No words I say can express the gratitude that my family feels to the community for all that they have done for us, and I can't thank Brad for all of the work he has done in memory of Rob," Lisa said. "He was the brain behind the entire operation."

When talking about the life of her husband, Lisa smiled.

"Things happen in life and often times the positive is clouded by the negative, but with everything that happens in life and in the community we still need to look for the brightness," she said. "Everyday I tell my children I love them, and to shine for Jesus, that is the last thing they hear me say, and I truly believe that.

"Our time on earth is important. The blessings that we give to people is what we are remembered by, and he did that."

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Rob led me to the Lord. I was in his youth group and he taught me many things about Christ. I miss him.

-- Posted by MensRea2008 on Tue, Sep 30, 2008, at 10:28 PM

Rob was truly an amazing man. When my daughter was having some medical issues, Rob was one of the first people to visit her at the hospital and again when she came home. We will always remember Rob and everything he has done to change the lives of many.

-- Posted by SURVIVINGMOM on Wed, Oct 1, 2008, at 4:15 AM

This family is such a blessing to those who know them. Rob is smiling in Heaven as they grow!

-- Posted by sassypants on Wed, Oct 1, 2008, at 6:58 AM

What a great way to honor someone special ,, that touched so many lives.

-- Posted by sweetpeas on Wed, Oct 1, 2008, at 11:49 AM

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