John Denz

1921 - 2017

We have lost a fixture and a very special person to many in Cromwell schools, working from 1951 at Nathaniel White to 1981 when he retired from Cromwell High School. John Denz went from Phys Ed to guidance counselor all the while helping a generation (or so) to do their best and be their best. Mr. Denz died earlier today, April 9th, at home.

Calling hours will be at the Cromwell Funeral Home on Main St on Sunday, April 23 from 1-3 pm. A brief memorial service will be at 3:00 followed by a gathering at a local restaurant from 4-6.

John William Denz of Cromwell passed away peacefully listening to his favorite singer, Frank Sinatra, on April 9, 2017 at the age of 95 with his daughters by his side. Born in Harrison, NY on May 26, 1921, he was the son of John and Sara (Young) Denz.

John graduated from Arnold College as a physical education teacher in 1943 where he also met his future wife Nancy. In 1958 he earned a Master's Degree from Hillyer College, now called the University of Hartford. After marrying, he and Nancy lived in Danielson, CT where he started his teaching career in Plainfield, CT. In 1951, they moved to Cromwell with their three children. This is when he began his long 30 year career in the Cromwell school system, retiring in 1981. During his tenure in the Cromwell schools, he served as athletic coach, physical education instructor, director of athletics and guidance director and was a sports hall of fame inductee. He worked hard and sacrificed to promote a strong athletic program at the high school and guided many hundreds of students to achieve the full potential of their abilities. As the guidance director in 1964, he started a bi-weekly letter to seniors to assist them with all their responsibilities during their last year in high school. On every letter there was a quote at the top of the page. The first one read "Let everyone become all he is capable of becoming." This type of connection he had with the student body, along with his ability to treat each student as a special individual, is a small example of why he was held in high regard both during and after his long career in Cromwell. He cared deeply about all the students he came in contact with. John was often asked to be master of ceremonies or hand out awards at banquets and was well known for his corny jokes, which produced either a laugh or a groan from the audience. His last presentation was the John W. Denz Female Athlete of the Year Award given at the senior assembly last May, the day before his 95th birthday. His sense of humor carried over into his everyday life and continued even at age 95.

Over the years he and Nancy loved to travel and camp, which took them to every state except Hawaii. Along the way they made many friends, which they continued to stay in touch with over the years. They particularly loved the western and southwestern states and their winter getaway in Florida. Their last journey was in 2012 when he and Nancy drove their truck and camper to Sanibel Island, FL at age 90.

John leaves behind two daughters, Susan Carta and her husband Ralph Braithwaite and Sandra Wade and her husband John Wade; daughter-in-law Susan P. Denz; four grandchildren, Alison Birdsey and her partner Paul Yeomans, Jessica Buchanan and her husband Ken Buchanan; Kara Fluck and her husband Chris Fluck; Jeffrey Denz and his wife Annie Denz; eight great grandchildren, Carter and Trevor Buchanan; Harry, Ben, Sam and Carly Trider; Amelia Fluck and Ellie Denz; his brother, Robert Denz and several nieces and nephews.

Along with his parents, he was predeceased by his son Peter, his wife Nancy (Stone) Denz and his sister, Dorothy.

The Denz family would like to thank Middlesex Hospice Home Care for their excellent caregiving, concern and help in making his final weeks comfortable. A special thank you goes to John's live-in caregiver Jacinta who dedicated herself to his well-being during the last month of his life and to his dear friends and neighbors who were always there for him and his family. They will truly miss his presence.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, April 23 at 3:00 pm at the Cromwell Funeral Home, 506 Main Street, Cromwell with The Rev. John Rogers officiating. Burial will be at the convenience of the family.

Friends and family may call on Sunday before the service from 1:00 to 3:00 pm at the funeral home. At John's request, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the Student Council Scholarship Fund and mailed to Cromwell High School, Donald Harris Drive, Cromwell, CT 06416. These donations will be incorporated into the John and Nancy Denz Scholarship Fund given to a deserving senior on a yearly basis.

Messages of condolence may be sent to the family at

Cromwell Funeral Home - April 2017