November 11, 1932 - July 8, 2016
DENISON, Rodger E. “Tim” Rodger E. “Tim” Denison died July 8, 2016. He was 83 and will be greatly missed.
Tim was born November 11, 1932, in Fort Worth to A. Rodger and Maude Espy Denison. He was raised in Tulsa and graduated from Wentworth Military Academy in Missouri. He went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of Oklahoma. He was drafted and completed Ranger training in Georgia before serving two years in Korea. He was a well-respected platoon leader in Korea, although he rarely spoke of his service. His family knew about his time there from mementos he brought back.
It was in Korea that he developed a fondness for classical music, not as much initially for its beauty, but because classical music records were only a dollar, the cheapest of the available music. He taught his family to love classical music, too. Tim returned from Korea and enrolled in the geology master’s program at the University of Oklahoma. It was there, in 1957, that he met Caroline Holmes on a blind date.
A spark must have been kindled, because they married three months later on December 26, 1957. After completing his master’s degree, Tim did a brief stint at the University of California at Berkeley before coming to the University of Texas at Austin to complete his doctorate. His association with UT would last his entire life, and it was there he formed seminal and lasting relationships with other geologists with whom he would work for decades. Even after graduation, he remained active in the geology department (now called Jackson School of Geosciences) until his death. He was one of the youngest people ever named to the Advisory Council, and he missed only three of the advisory committee meetings in his more than four decades of service.
By the time he finished his education, Tim and Caroline’s daughters Kelly and Cambria (named for a geologic era) had been born. In 1964, Tim took a job as a researcher with Mobil Oil and the family moved to Dallas. Except for 14 years as a consultant, Tim worked for Mobil (now ExxonMobil) his entire career. He developed into an expert on the geology of Oklahoma, especially the Arbuckle Mountains. When he wasn’t working, he rebuilt Alfa Romeos; played tennis; read a wide range of books, especially history; and collected Bullwinkle memorabilia. A treasured possession was a bubble bath container in the shape of Bullwinkle that he painted gold to resemble an Oscar statue.
His family will remember him as a superb team member to have in a game of Trivial Pursuit; a weekend cook whose specialties were nachos, and grilled cheese made in the waffle iron; a connoisseur of both good and cheap beer; and an avid Simpsons fan. He could recall dozens of New Yorker cartoons. He was very fond of cats, of which the family had many over the years, and of escaping the heat each Texas summer to go to Colorado.
In later years, he and Caroline traveled widely with their daughter Kelly and her husband, also named Tim. Tim Denison was a patient and flexible traveler no matter how challenging the circumstances. From him, his family learned the importance of showing up (on time!), being loyal, and getting an education. He also taught that the quietest people often have the funniest lines. He did not like vegetables (especially broccoli) or cell phones and tried to avoid both.
Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Caroline Holmes Denison; daughter and son-in-law Kelly and Tim Harrell; daughter and son-in-law Cambria and Brian Reinsborough; grandchildren Calder, Reeve and Kellen Reins-borough; sister and brother-in-law D’Ann and Jay Kavanaugh; sister-in-law Sue Holmes Dunn and her husband, David; niece Molly Frank and her husband, Michael; niece Cassie Crosby and her husband, Doug; niece Tammy Kavanaugh and her husband, John; niece Palmer Kavanaugh; and nephew Morgan Kavanaugh, plus many great-nieces and -nephews.
Donations may be made in his name to the Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin.
A celebration of his life is planned for later date.
Arrangements are under the direction of
ARIA Cremation Service and Funeral Home
19310 Preston Road
Dallas, Texas 75252
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