John Thomas “Tom” Deniston passed away at his home in Sardinia, Monday, August 14, 2017. He was born October 25, 1945, to John Henry and Dorothy L. Deniston who preceded him in death.
He is survived by his sister, Janet Deniston Streetman; niece, Suzanna “Jade” Cook and husband Shaun; nephew, Johnathan Streetman and wife Darcy; great-nieces, Caroline Elizabeth, Audrey June and Cora Jane Cook; and great-nephew, Samuel Henry Streetman. They all reside in Lexington, Kentucky.
Tom graduated from Ball State University with Bachelor and Master Degrees in Business and Education and was a member of Theta Xi Fraternity. He was recruited in his junior year of college by the Decatur County School system to return to his home community where he dedicated 43 years to teaching generations in a firm but fair approach. “Mr. D’s” guidance, encouragement, wisdom, and sense of humor will be remembered by numerous people.
Tom’s thirst for knowledge and love of education was clear to everyone. He was instrumental in establishing Career Day at South Decatur as well as Partners in Education with Decatur County businesses. He was an avid reader, constantly educating himself on the farming industry, the financial world and current events. He was a steward of the land, tirelessly working the Deniston Family Farm for more than 50 years, continuing after his near fatal accident in August of 2013.
Tom, as the fifth generation, and his father, John Henry, had hundreds of feeder cattle over the years and always had a herd of cattle grazing the land. The family was awarded the Sesquicentennial Hoosier Homestead Award in April of this year at the Indiana State Courthouse and in 2016, Tom was presented the River Friendly Farmer of Indiana Conservation Award.
Tom cared deeply for his family and the people of the surrounding area where he was a member of the Sardinia Baptist Church. He was always quietly looking for ways to help others and give back to the community that he loved. He strongly believed in the value of hard work, perseverance, respect and second chances. He believed that when times got tough, one must press on and when the weak could no longer be strong, the community would rise up and be there to help. Whether he was in the fields or in the classroom, Tom knew there was work to be done and he never stopped until the job was finished.
The family is grateful to all those who visited and helped him in recent years. Special thanks to Carri Lee, Larry Clark and the Evans, Tomson and Ortman families.
Visitation will be from 4:30 to 8:00 p.m., Friday, August 18, 2017, at the Bass & Gasper Funeral Home in Westport. A memorial service will be at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, August 19, 2017, with burial following at the Westport Cemetery.
Online condolences can be sent to the family at www.bassgasper.com.