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Gregory Steven Denby, fondly known as Greg to family and friends, was born July 19, 1953, the oldest of four children and first-born son who simply adored his mother Frances Elizabeth Denby. She was the light of his life. So much so that only his mother and grandmother could hold him when he was a baby. When others held this sweet little baby boy, he would cry non-stop, and be inconsolable until he was placed back in their arms. Greg grew up in Missionary Church of God In Christ, National City, CA under the ministry of his beloved grandfather, the late Rev. Oceania B. Booker, Sr, surrounded by a loving extended family of his beloved grandmother, the late Frances Viola Booker, and a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
Greg attended John F. Kennedy and Logan Elementary Schools; Memorial Jr. High, and Lincoln High School in San Diego, CA. In his senior year, he went to stay with his aunt, the late Kathleen Womack, in Hayward, CA where he attended and graduated from Hayward High School in 1972. He went on to attend San Diego City College, enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1973, and later, worked for the City of San Diego, Water Utilities Department for 13 years.
In 1980, Greg met the love of his life, Arcelia Daniel, fondly known as “Maria” or just “Ria” by family and friends. Greg would often tell the story of when he first met Maria and knew that very day that he was going to marry her. They were married in 1984, and together raised three children, LaRina Renee, Gregory Frederick, and Kevin Marantz.
The family moved overseas to Yokosuka Japan in 1993 at which time Greg began working as a Transportation Assistant for the U.S. Navy. The family returned from overseas in 2006, and he continued his career as a Transportation Assistant with the U.S. Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton, CA until his retirement in 2009.
He had a lifelong love of art and music and enjoyed playing the guitar and going to concerts. He began playing the guitar in his teenage years and, as his idol was Jimi Hendrix, he could even play the guitar with his teeth. Music was his lifeblood, and he enjoyed all genres – Gospel, Jazz, Blues, Soul, Rock, Metal, Pop, Classical . . . you name it and Greg had it in his collection. An avid artist, his easel always showcased a drawing or painting in progress; and several of his artworks hung throughout their home. In high school he won an award for one of his drawings. When he wasn’t engaging in his favorite pastimes of drawing, painting, barbecuing, fishing, gardening, or collecting music and watches, you could always find him in front of the TV watching football or boxing. He would often fire up the grill, invite everyone over, and sit back enjoying a game or boxing match while sipping on a “cold one.” He loved “just kickin’ it” with family and friends…and showing off his “cueing” skills.
He was a man who loved his family and spent countless hours sharing his life experiences with his children and grandson, going fishing, “training” them on how to barbecue, and imparting his advice and words of wisdom. One of the most important lessons that he imparted to his sons was to always protect and defend their mother and sister. He was the life of the party and always enjoyed going to family gatherings. Getting together with family and friends was one of his favorite pastimes.
A beautiful life ended on August 28th 2023 when God called Gregory Steven Denby home to rest, and he transitioned from labor to reward.
He was preceded in death by his beloved grandparents, Rev. Oceania B. Booker, Sr and Frances Viola Booker; his beloved mother Frances Elizabeth Denby; father Coleman Wagner Denby; and sister Patricia Colleen Denby.
He leaves behind to cherish his memory his loving wife of over 39 years, Arcelia Denby; his daughter LaRina Denby; his sons Gregory F. Denby and Kevin Denby; his grandson Christopher Campbell; his sister Pamela Denby-Smith (Floyd); his brother Darryl Denby, Sr. (Felicia); his uncle Rev. Robert W. Booker, Sr. (Sandra); his aunts Evelyn Booker, Rachel Hatchett, and Vivian Westmoreland; his brother-in-laws Alonzo Jones, Carl Daniel, and Benjamin Daniel Jr; his nephews Marcell Hawkins (Syndi), Blake Smith, Darryl Denby II.; David Galvez Jr. (LaShekita), and Anthony Jones; his nieces Angela Daniel, Alona Harper; Tannyr Denby Watkins (Lemuel), Diana Yisrael (Charles), Alondra Jones, Alesia Denby, and Alexia Denby; special friends Carlton Pearson and Michael Emanuel; and a host of relatives, and friends.
The golden sea its mirror spreads
Beneath the golden skies,
And but a narrow strip between
Of earth and shadow lies.
The cloud-like cliffs, the cliff-like clouds,
Dissolved in glory, float,
And midway of the radiant floods
Hangs silently the boat.
The sea is but another sky,
The sky a sea as well,
And which is earth and which the heavens
The eye can scarcely tell.
So when for me life’s latest hour
Soft passes to its end,
May glory, born of earth and heaven,
The earth and heaven blend.
Flooded with light the spirits float,
With silent rapture glow,
Where earth ends & heaven begins
Only the soul now knows....