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Bill Denney

Obituary for Bill Denney

August 2, 1930 - May 16, 2018
Austin, Texas | Age 87


William J. Denney (Bill) passed away Wednesday morning, May 16th, in his apartment at Brookdale Northwest Hills, Mesa Drive, Austin, TX. His final hours were spent surrounded by his granddaughter, Kara Denney, grandson, Dillon Denney, and his son, Richard Denney. He left Brookdale draped in the American flag in recognition of his service to this country in the United States Air Force (USAF). Bill was born August 2nd, 1930, to William Henry Denney and Mamie (Hankins) Denney, in Clinton, MO, the youngest of five. He was preceded in death by both parents, brothers Bud and Henry Denney, and sisters Erma Gumm and Needra Campbell. He is survived by his two grandchildren, Kara and Dillon Denney, his son, Richard Denney, and his ex-wife of 25 years, Lorena Faye (Stanford) Denney, Richard's mother, also a resident at Brookdale Northwest Hills.

Bill was a career Senior NCO in the USAF doing intelligence. His stations included Barksdale, where he met his wife, Faye, also a USAF veteran of the Korean War, and where his son Richard was born. He and his family were later stationed at Carswell AFB, Westover AFB, Whiteman AFB, Stead AFB, Hickam AFB, Langley AFB, and finally Bergstrom AFB, Austin, TX, where he retired in 1974 as a Senior Master Sergeant after 26 years of service. He had multiple deployments during both the Korean and Vietnam wars.

During his career he had many "adventures": received award for aerial photo interpretation; interviewed and interrogated defecting and captured personnel; dressed the part of a Russian officer as part of Stead AFB's "Combat Survival Training School" in a simulated POW compound, preparing pilots for "Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape" (SERE) if downed and captured; deployed to Florida for intelligence work during the Cuban Missile Crisis; was a member of flight crew aboard Hickam AFB's Blue Eagle Airborne Command Post, aircraft that stayed aloft 24/7 charged with "taking over" in the event of a nuclear strike to the U.S.; pilot target briefings and debriefings; intel confirming famed pilot Joseph Kittinger's downing of a MiG-21, and daily intelligence briefings to Admiral John McCain during the Vietnam War.

During his career he received the following commendations: Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Force Good Conduct Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal with bronze bar, National Defense Service Medal with bronze star, Korean Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award with 3 oak-leaf clusters, USAF NCO PME Graduate Ribbon, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, United Nations Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

After retirement from the USAF in 1974, he worked for the Social Security Administration (SSA) where he processed applications for aged, blind or disabled individuals. While at the SSA he moved to Arlington, TX. In 1995, he retired from SSA and went to work for Medical Advocacy Services for Healthcare (MASH), applying his experience at the SSA advocating on behalf of persons denied SSA/SSI benefits. In 2004 he retired.

Bill was an avid golfer and loved travel, especially cruises, sailing on nearly 30. He was a member of St. Peter & St. Paul Episcopal Church in Arlington. In January 2015, with health failing, he moved from his home of 30+ years in Arlington back to Austin to live at Brookdale near his son.

There he attended St. Matthews Episcopal Church with his granddaughter Kara.

Bill will be cremated at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home and ashes buried at Austin Memorial Park Cemetery. There will be a small family memorial at his grave. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Arlington Animal Shelter, Arlington, TX, of which he was a major supporter, his beloved dog Crystal having come from there.

Private Services

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Arlington Animal Shelter, 1000 SE Green Oaks Blvd., Arlington, Texas 76018,

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Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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