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Published: Monday, 2/5/2001

Music teacher loved to work with children

Bruce Deniston, a longtime music teacher in Defiance and music director at St. Mark Lutheran Church, Toledo, died Friday at St. Luke's Hospital. He was 57.

According to his wife, Patricia, Mr. Deniston died from a cerebral hemorrhage.

For 25 years, Mr. Deniston was a vocal music teacher, beginning his career at Ayersville High School in Ayersville, Ohio.

He also taught in Appleton, Wis., and finished his career teaching music at Defiance Junior High, where he retired in 1993.

“He loved more than anything working with the kids. He loved making beautiful music and teaching them the dedication and what it took to make it,'' Mrs. Deniston said.

For years, Mr. Deniston played the organ at St. Paul Lutheran Church and Zion's Lutheran Church in Defiance. For the last 10 years, he was the organist and music director at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Toledo.

“He had an absolutely gorgeous baritone voice, so much control. He used to sing wonderful solos in The Messiah,'' Mrs. Deniston said. “And although he was that talented, he would rather teach kids. He'd rather that they excelled.''

Born in Rome, N.Y., Mr. Deniston moved to Defiance when he was in elementary school and eventually graduated from Defiance College. He later received his master's degree from the University of Wisconsin.

As a child, Mr. Deniston studied music with his mother, Margaret, who was a church pianist and who played in several professional choral groups.

But he injured his knee in his first semester, and “that's when he decided that music was where he should be,'' his wife said.

He met Patricia while she was student teaching at Ayersville High School. They were married for 26 years.

After he retired in 1993, his family moved to Perrysburg Township, where he continued to give private piano, organ, and vocal lessons. He also served as a mentor for students at Clay and Perrysburg high schools.

“He liked working with the other teachers. He had taught for so long that he could have just taken control, but he never did. He was a very nurturing, loving, and gentle man,'' Mrs. Deniston said.

In addition to his love of music, Mr. Deniston enjoyed golf. Other hobbies included fishing and gardening.

Surviving are his wife, Patricia; son, Randy; daughter, Michelle Yoder; brothers, Neal and Alun; father, Dean, and a granddaughter.

Visitation will be from 2 to 9 p.m. today in the Eggleston-Meinart Funeral Home, Coy Road Chapel, 440 South Coy Rd., Oregon.

Funeral services are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. tomorrow in St. Mark Lutheran Church, Woodville Road at Elmore Street.

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