Phillip Loyd Denney was born to Everett and Mary Denney at 3:43 a.m. on Tuesday, May 9, 1944. Phil, beloved brother, uncle, cousin, friend, and neighbor passed away Feb. 28, 2021.

The life Phil lived will forever be more than words can describe; the legacy he leaves will last for generations to come. He will be missed by so many of the Kearney community he supported and lived a lifetime amongst.

Phil graduated Kearney High School in 1962 and was a member of the 1960-1961 championship basketball team, inducted into the inaugural Kearney Athletic Hall of Fame in 2017. Phil was a lover of sports including all things, golf, fishing, Mizzou and Bulldogs athletics, Chiefs football and Royals baseball.

After graduating high school, Phil continued his love for education at University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. Shortly after graduation, Phil was drafted into the United States Army during the Vietnam War from 1969-1970. Specialist Phillip L. Denney was awarded several medals, including two Bronze Stars, for his meritorious achievements during his deployment. After the war, he returned to school and completed his master’s degree at the University of Missouri.

Mr. Denney, or Mr. D to many former students, taught at several schools over his career including Smithville, Sedalia, Salem, Drexel, Osage, Eldon, and Climax Springs where he retired as principal. Unable to stay retired long, he returned to the education system as supervisor for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, where he achieved many certificates and awards that signified his love for students and their lifelong learning.

Phil was an avid supporter of the Boy Scouts of America as an Eagle Scout himself. Known as Little Bounding Gray Squirrel, he served as Sagamore on the Mic-O-Say Tribal and She-She-Be Councils, carrying out and endorsing the policies of the Council of Chieftains. Phil spent many summer sessions at H. Roe Bartle Scout Reservation in Osceola, Missouri as a staffer and made lifelong friendships through his experiences.

Phil enjoyed collecting all things Standard Oil, commemorating the family business, Riley & Denney Service, and was a charter member of the Kearney Historic Museum.

The younger generations will forever remember watching Jesse James parades at the corner of N Prospect and E Washington and parents will always remember the famous Bloody Marys on the deck. Students will always cherish his passion for teaching and family and friends will never forget his constant wit, words of wisdom, and all the good times had at Camp Phil at the Lake of the Ozarks.

The third of five kids to the late Everett & the late Mary Denney, Phil leaves behind sister, Jane (Dennis) Twiss, brothers, John (Pam), Bill (the late Mertie), and Mark; several cousins, nieces and nephews, former students, friends, and neighbors that will forever miss him.

Visitation will be held from 5 – 7 p.m. on Monday, March 8, 2021 at Fry-Bross Spidle Funeral Home in Kearney, Missouri. Military Honors will be performed at 6 p.m.

At a later date, family will hold a Celebration of Phil’s Life, open to all, when the weather warms up and sunshine can be enjoyed with a bottle or two of Jameson. To honor Phil’s memory, family asks you to make a contribution to a school district of your choice as anyone who knew Phil well, knew what education meant to him.

“A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”

-Author unknown

Arrangements: Fry-Bross & Spidle Funeral Home (816) 628-4411, Kearney, MO 64060

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