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Denham Garfield Leftwich

1932 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Denham Garfield Leftwich Obituary
1932 - 2017
Denham Garfield Leftwich, of Menifee, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday, March 8, 2017.
A devoted husband, father, grandfather, uncle and friend, Denham was dearly loved by all for his kind heart, honesty, intelligence, and strong work ethic.
Born to Helen and James Leftwich in Charleston, West Virginia on June 3, 1932, Denham spent the first decade of his life with his parents, brother Charles and sisters, Phyllis and Bobbi in a small cabin with no running water in Campbells Creek, West Virginia. He loved the family cow, Bessie, and long hours playing outside in the wide open spaces of coal mining country. One of his most vivid memories was of watching his mother using buckets of water to wash the black coal dust off of his father at the end of each day as he stood in a metal tub in the center of the small kitchen. After 26 years in the coal mines, James Leftwich chose a new life for his family and headed for Washington, D.C. Denham arrived in the nation's capital, in the rumble seat of his fathers old car, where his family moved into a two bedroom apartment on 9th Street NE. While he missed the great outdoors of West Virginia, he and his brother loved riding street cars and the adventures they had in the historic city.
Denham's happiest memories of growing up were from many, many hours spent at the D.C. Metropolitan Police Boys Club, where he competed in boxing and basketball. As a teen, he loved spending every summer working at Camp Ernest W. Brown Boys Club in Scotland, Maryland as a counselor, making $15 a month.
Upon graduating from Eastern High School, Denham joined the Navy and served on a destroyer traveling the world and serving in hostile waters. After four years of service during the Korean War, he knew he preferred being on dry land and chose to start a career in the trades as a lineman for the Potomac Electric Power Company. He would later be part of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, working as a respected journeyman lineman, risking his life daily on high voltage power poles in overwhelming summer heat as well as extreme blizzard conditions, day and night for many years.
One night while celebrating his return home from the Korean War, destiny stepped in when he crossed paths with the love of his life, Barbara Edwards. It was love at first sight for both Denham and Barbara, who were married and dedicated to each other for more than 60 years as they built a beautiful life and raised five children. Denham never regretted moving his family 3,000 miles to Orange County, California in 1978. It was there that he started a new career as a general contractor flipping houses and renovating homes along the coast long before it became a trend. He and Barbara lived in Mission Viejo, San Clemente, and Carlsbad before moving to Sun City in Menifee in 1999.
Denham was the definition of unconditional love. While he held others to the high standards he had for himself, he was quick to understand that people are human and make mistakes. "Everything is a habit," he would say. "There are good habits and bad habits. Every day, with every choice, you have the opportunity to choose good." He gave unlimited second chances and could not hold a grudge. His absolute joy in life came from providing for his family. No one has ever worked harder or longer and enjoyed it more than Denham did. While his passing leaves a void that can never be filled, he leaves behind a legacy of service, hard work, integrity and devotion to each of those he loved. It is a legacy to which we all must aspire.
Denham is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Barbara; his children and their families Dana Hexum, Robin Leftwich, Daniel Leftwich and Denham Leftwich; twelve grandchildren and seven great grandchildren; he was preceded in death by his daughter Linda Hooker.
Published in Press-Enterprise on Mar. 19, 2017
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