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Philip Valentine Denfeld

Philip V. Denfeld, Sr. 82, aka “Lucky”, of Brooksville, FL died December 22, 2017 at Kindred Hospital Central in Tampa, FL, surrounded by family and friends.

Philip was born October 26, 1935, in Wausau, WI. son of the late Raymond and Edna (Ferris) Denfeld. Philip enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1954 and was stationed at Barksdale AFB where he met Grace Ruell of Worcester, MA. Grace, also serving in the Women’s Air Force at Barksdale AFB, accepted Philip’s proposal for marriage. The two were married December 1, 1956, amidst a full military alert. Philip served twenty years in the Air Force, retiring at Loring AFB, Maine in 1974 as Master Sergeant.

Upon retiring from the Air Force, Philip attended Unity College majoring in psychology and business management. While attending college, he helped to run a close friend’s snowmobile sales and service shop in Caribou, ME. Philip loved nature and the outdoors. Providing for the simple necessities of life motivated him. In 1984, he and Grace moved from Caribou to Island Falls, ME. There they began an adventure of living in the woods. Taking up residence in one of the Sewall’s cabins at Hook Point on Lake Mattawamkeag, they purposed to live simply and honestly. With no roads, phones or local power they forged out a comfortable and peaceful life on the lake. Philip and Grace were sincerely endeared in the small community and in 1986 began to build a cabin of their own. Grace once stated that these were the most memorable three years of her life. Many were their lifelong friends and companions of Island Falls and Caribou, ME.

In 1987, having been away from home for 33 years, Philip and Grace moved to Tripoli, WI to be closer to Philip’s family. Philip loved to work with his hands and was quick to offer his help to those in need. He even helped design and build a home for his youngest brother Brian. The love he gave to his family was deep and genuine.

In 1994, Philip and Grace relocated to Florida to be closer to their children and grandchildren. The special moments and memories of their shared lives provide a true testament of a great man… so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God
and would not forget his deeds
but would keep his commands.
(Ps 78: 6, 7)

Philip was preceded in death by Grace on January 5, 2008, in Ocala, FL. He was also preceded in death by three of his siblings: Alan, Jerry and Judy, of WI.

Philip is survived by Athleen Crowell of Brooksville, FL, his significant other of 9 years. He is also survived by four children, seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren: Philipp V. & Tina Denfeld (Nicholas), Dean E. & Sharon Denfeld (Eric & Grace), Theresa Reynolds (John & Elizabeth), Katherine Lowery (Robert & Anthony Bryson), and Luke & Leia Bryson.

Philip is also survived by two brothers and a sister, Mike (Roxy) Denfeld, Brian (Barbara) Denfeld, and Sharon (Tom) Knoeck.

Philip will be laid to rest next to Grace Elizabeth Denfeld, his wife of 51 years, at Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, FL.

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  • Katherine Lowery says:

    I miss you so much already Dad!

  • Traci Ennis says:

    Kathryn and family, I am so sorry for your loss. I temember all the stories you would tell of your dad. May God’ surround you with His peace, comfort and love.

  • Asfia Yarahmad says:

    Thank you for accepting me into your family with open arms. I will always remember our great conversations.

    Rest In Peace…

  • Lynne Jones says:

    This tribute is beautiful. Both Lucky and Grace were Air Force friends of my first husband Paul and myself. We had such fun back then! They always stayed in touch and even after my husband Paul died in 1983, and then Grace, Lucky and I kept the communication going. We had a very long conversation just before he died and we shared memories of those days. I am eternally grateful for that conversation, not knowing it would be the last. He spoke so fondly of all of you, and also of Athryn, who he praised for her being his partner and taking such good care of him. Grace got me involved in the American Red Cross at Loring AFB Hospital which led me to work in the field of medicine all my life. I send my heartfelt condolences and love to all of you. You are blessed to have had the parents you had, and I am blessed to have known them. God be with you all. ~ Love and Prayers, Lynne Jones, Brownsville, CA

  • Sheryl Loos says:

    This was a wonderful tribute. Thank you for all the details. I only met uncle Lucky a handfull of times in my life and I wish I could have known him. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  • Grace Denfeld says:

    I miss you so much Grandpa, but I am happy to know that you are at peace and with Grandma again. Give her hugs and kisses for me.
    Love you always and forever,
    Your little Pe-Pie!

  • Dave Eubanks says:

    Your Dad’s life was inspiring. I know he will be missed, but the memories of who he was and how he lived will carry on. I appreciate his grit and affection for nature and simpleness. Great tribute!