John Tolliver Denmark, Jr. November 17, 1940 – November 10, 2012
Longtime Tallahassee resident, John Tolliver Denmark, Jr., passed away Saturday, Novovember 10 after a long battle with leukemia. He was 71 years old.
John was born in Sarasota, FL., on Novovember 17, 1940, to Toliver and Fannie B. Denmark. The eldest of three children, John grew up in the rural Sarasota community of Bee Ridge, spending summers working alongside his father and countless days at his grandparents' farm and beach cottages in Sarasota. He gained an appreciation of agriculture by becoming active in the Future Farmers of America program at Sarasota High School. It was at Sarasota High that he met his future wife, the former Judith "Judy" Hodges.
Upon graduating from high school in 1958, John attended the University of Florida, in Gainesville. John and Judy began married life together in 1960, a marriage that lasted 47 years until Judy's death in 2007. Shortly before getting married John began his career in agriculture working for the Florida Department of Agriculture in Winter Haven, Fla. After giving birth to their first son, John David, in 1962, John and Judy returned to Gainesville so he could complete his undergraduate degree in agricultural education. During their time there, the couple gave birth to their second son, Gary Patrick. John later earned a master's degree in agriculture from the University of Florida in 1973.
In 1965, John took a position as a vocational agriculture instructor at Ft. Meade High School in Polk County, Fla., where the couple had their third son, Christopher Alan. Soon after, the family moved to Winter Haven, Fla., where John would teach agriculture for the eight years in Polk County. John then became a regional consultant for the Florida Department of Education in central Florida. In 1981, he became Florida's Director of Agricultural Education. John remained at the Florida Department of Education in Tallahassee until his retirement in 2000. He was conferred with the Honorary American Farmer Degree in 1988. In 2000, the John T. Denmark, Jr. Scholarship was established by the Florida FFA Foundation in his honor. In 2007, he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Association of Agriculture Educators. John had a great admiration for the water as well as the land, volunteering with the Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 12, a group for whom he dedicated countless hours to teaching boating safety. John and Judy attended Unity Eastside Church in Tallahassee since its inception in 1994 where they were active members of the church for nearly twenty years.
John is survived by his three sons, David (Elizabeth), Patrick (Barbara) and Christopher (Kimberly); five grandchildren, Brittany, Christopher, Vance, Clayton and Hartley; two sisters, Patricia (Ron) McCord and Linda Denmark; and mother-in-law, Christine Hodges.
Visitation for friends and family is scheduled for Tuesday, November 13 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Culley's MeadowWood Funeral Home, 1737 Riggins Road, Tallahassee, FL 32308. Funeral services are scheduled for Wednesday, November 14 at 1 p.m. at the same location.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to The John T. Denmark, Jr. Scholarship, c/o The Florida FFA Foundation, Inc., 5000 Firetower Road, Haines City, FL 33844, or Unity Eastside Church of Tallahassee, 8551 Buck Lake Road, Tallahassee, FL 32317.