Ian Richard Denham, son of the late Albert and Edith Denham, died unexpectedly on May 20, 2013. Born December 12, 1947 in the village of Morton, Linconshire, England, Ian grew up in Morton, and then in the nearby town of Bourne.
He leaves behind his beloved wife, Shelley, daughters Gillian Denham Jones, Megan Denham Vered and Joy Denham; sons-in-law Andrew Jones and Moran Vered, and two granddaughters, Ella and Kaylee Denham Vered. Ian is also survived by his sister, Iris Whitham, her husband Colin, their three children and grandchildren; and extended family members, Tom and Jane Warth, Charlyn Jackson, and many dear friends.
Ian was a world traveler in his early 20’s. On a trip to Canada and the U.S., he happened to meet Shelley Jackson, and within six hours, they had decided to marry. Five months later on December 22, 1973, they did so, in Bourne. Ian then emigrated to the U.S., and lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, where Ian immediately realized that joining the Jackson family meant singing. With no training or experience in music, he good-naturedly joined the church choir, and sang for a number of events with Shelley, and her brother David and wife Char Jackson.
Ian and Shelley’s three daughters – all of whom were born in Cincinnati – were his greatest joys. A close-knit family, they all shared a love of travel, nature, music, and a sense of fun and adventure.
In 1989, after many trips here, Ian and his family moved to Highlands, NC to work at a local retreat center. Ian’s job as Facilities Director included the management of all aspects of the infrastructure of the 90+ acre facility and he supervised all new construction projects, and most of the renovation of older buildings himself, with staff and volunteers.
Music became an even more important part of Ian’s life when he and Shelley met Tom and Jane Warth, and formed a quartet. Their close harmonies and unique blend gave voice to their mutual passion for social justice, embrace of diversity, and spiritual expression. Together, they traveled through much of the eastern United States, providing worship services, concerts and workshops. They had started recording their second C.D. in January, and had planned to complete it by the end of 2013. More recently, Ian sang in the First Presbyterian Church choir whenever his schedule permitted, and the church became a warm and loving home for both Ian and Shelley.
Ian’s kind, gentle nature could only be rattled by mistreatment or mean-spirited behavior to his loved ones, lack of a strong and dependable work ethic, and waste of natural resources. Among the comments in the many loving cards and messages sent to his family upon news of his death, was this tribute: “The world lost a truly wonderful human being when he died. Ian brought goodness and gentleness to all who knew his cheerful spirit, and we are better for having known him!”
A Service of Remembrance and Celebration will be held at First Presbyterian Church at 1 p.m. on July 6th, 2013 – the 40th anniversary of the day Ian and Shelley met and decided to marry. A reception will be held after the service in Coleman Hall.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the First Presbyterian Church Bolivian Mission Scholarship Fund, and/or to the Highlands Cashiers Chamber