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Franklin W. Denius

Obituary for Franklin W. Denius

January 4, 1925 - July 29, 2018
Austin, Texas | Age 93


Franklin W. Denius, iconic Texan, attorney and businessman, 93 years young, passed away peacefully at his Austin home on Sunday, July 29, 2018. Born January 4, 1925, in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, the only child of Francis C. and Samuel F. Denius. Shortly after Frank' birth his parents moved to Athens, Texas, where he was raised by his Mother and Grandmother, "Mattie" Wofford Cain. In spite of his birthplace, however, no one ever questioned Frank's love, devotion and loyalty to Texas nor his authenticity as a Texan. At 13, his influential and paternalistic uncle, Wofford Cain, persuaded Frank's Mother to enroll him at Schreiner Military Institute in Kerrville, Texas. Frank graduated High School at Schreiner.

While continuing Courses at Schreiner, the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred and thereafter he enlisted in the Army at 17 years old. Frank was initially dispatched to the Citadel Military Academy, where he matriculated, as well as trained as an artillery forward observer. After basic training at Camp Roberts, Frank was transferred to England in preparation for the D-Day Invasion. In 1946, Frank was discharged from the Army as one of the ten most decorated Soldiers in the European Theater of WWII, having fought in every major battle in Europe, perhaps most notably, landing on Omaha Beach in the "second wave" of the D-Day Invasion, and as a member of the "Lost Battalion" in the battle for Mortain, France, holding off 70,000 German troops and five Panzer Tank Divisions to defend Hill 314. For his military service, Frank received numerous medals for his service, including, four Silver Stars, the Belgian and French Croix de Guerre, a Presidential Citation, and the highest French Honor - Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur. Frank was also wounded twice, each time returning to battle, and he received two Purple Hearts. In spite of such decorations, he wore his honors lightly. He was a patriot who proved love of country at the risk of his life, accepting responsibility for the lives of others as a very young man.

Upon discharge from the Army, Frank enrolled in his beloved University of Texas where he studied business and law. Frank graduated UT Law School in 1949. On an "off" Longhorn Football Weekend in Athens Texas, Frank married his "sweetheart" Charmaine Hooper, whom, not surprisingly, he met at an Athens High School Football game on leave from the War. Frank commenced his legal career at the influential Austin, Texas law firm of Looney & Clark. As a lawyer, he was capable of hardball but his style was subtle. He became a major player among the most major players, and he became a name partner in Clark, Thomas, Denius, Winters & Harris, until he left the firm in 1976 to pursue his solo practice. During his legal career, Frank frequently worked on President Lyndon B. Johnson's personal business affairs (and later became good friends with the President and his family), and many other of Texas' luminary businessmen such as, Clint W. Murchison, Wofford Cain, Howard Butt, Jack Crosby, and Grogan Lord, and specialized in utility law, particularly in the oil and gas industries representing numerous utility and oil and gas related publicly traded Companies. Frank eventually became President and Chairman emeritus of Southern Union Company, originally established by Wofford Cain and Clint Murchison.

Frank Denius was a Texas giant, a man of destiny and civic and community impact. At one time or another Frank served as President of the Austin United Way, The Longhorn Club, The Headliner's Club, and was selected by the Austin Chamber of Commerce as the Outstanding Young Man of Austin in 1959. From 1957-1961, Frank was a member of the Texas Legislature Constitutional Revision Committee. Frank was also instrumental in orchestrating Texas A&M's conversion to a Co-educational Institution. Frank also served one term on the Austin Independent School Board, and acted as Treasurer for several campaigns of his close friend Congressman Jake Pickle. In the mid-1980s until present, Frank became President of The Cain Foundation established by Frank's uncle, Wofford Cain, which annually grants substantial sums to primarily Texas-based charities throughout the State.

Frank is well known for his passion and love for the institution of the University of Texas and the Texas Longhorn Football Team, together with its many current and former athletes and coaches. Frank served as counsel to numerous Presidents of the University, and was actively involved in numerous UT Capital Campaigns. Frank was instrumental in founding and organizing the "Texas Ex Students Association" and was one of the Organization's first Presidents; Frank remained active in the organization for the remainder of his life. In his later years, you would find Frank attending football practice daily at the practice facility named after him, "Denius Fields", visiting with the coaches and kidding with his Longhorn "teammates". Frank's spirit will forever be there and in Memorial Stadium at Seat 26, Row 15, Section 4 at Memorial Stadium.

Frank was in the present and a man of joy, kind acts never known by others, faithful to his family and friends. He was a strong and faithful Christian, and an active member of Westminister Presbyterian Church for over 60 years. Frank was a loving and compassionate Husband and incomparable and supporting Father. Frank and Charmaine were married 64 years. Education, intelligence, honesty, integrity, dedication, commitment, hard work, respect for others, his attitude of never giving up and always giving 110% effort in everything you do were the tenants of his character, and are the qualities and attributes he tried to instill in his children, as well as any individuals whom he mentored throughout his life.

Frank was welcoming, and he was mannerly in a way lost for several generations and deeply missed by those who knew and recognized it; Frank was truly a "Southern Gentleman". Equally unparalleled was his thoughtful generosity and deep humanity; he not only gave financially, but of himself and his time. He was a man who laughed often, worked hard, loved his family, his friends, the State of Texas, The University of Texas, and Westminster Presbyterian Church. He mastered the major challenges he met in his long life and never lost his curiosity; and his attention to minute detail was amazing. Frank's gregariousness was special, and when he saw friends his face lit up with his special warm, friendly and infectious deep grin and his eyes never failed to light up. His boundless energy, ferocious capacity for work and mastery of detail was an integral part of what became the Denius legend.

Frank was preceded in death by his Wife, Charmaine H. Denius and his grandson Frank Wofford McGill. Frank is survived by his son Wofford ("Woffie") Denius and his wife, Beth B. Denius, his daughter Charmaine D. McGill and her husband, J. Gordon McGill, his grandchildren Parker McGill and Reagan Denius. On behalf of Frank, the Denius Family would like to give special thanks to Renate Bombick for her love, friendship, and devotion to Frank and our family for over thirty-five years.

A Memorial Service will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 3208 Exposition Blvd., Austin, Texas, at 1:00PM on Tuesday, July 31, 2018. Any donations should be made to either Westminster Presbyterian Church or Hospice Austin.

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • Any donations should be made to either Westminster Presbyterian Church or Hospice Austin.

Arrangements By

Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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