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July 29, 2014

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Originally published: 2013-01-22 13:57:05
Last modified: 2013-01-22 14:16:19

Graham W. Denton Jr.

Mr. Graham Denton died at his home on Jan. 8, 2013, after a courageous eight month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 67 years old.

A native of Charlotte and Blowing Rock, Graham was born to the late Castelloe Bland Dowling and Graham Williams Denton. He attended Myers Park High School and Wake Forest University, where he was a member of R.O.T.C. and the Kappa Sigma fraternity. He earned his M.B.A. from Georgia State University.

After college, Graham served in the United States Army, stationed in Fort Lee, Va., and Fort McPherson, Ga., before being deployed to Camp Page in South Korea during the Vietnam War. In 1971, Graham joined North Carolina National Bank (NCNB), which would eventually become Bank of America. He spent his entire 36 year career with the bank in a variety of leadership roles in corporate and commercial banking. At the time of his retirement in 2007, he was the North Carolina and Charlotte Market President, and the Market President Executive, leading a team of 135 Market Presidents across the United States. Graham treasured the many close friendships he developed during his time at the bank.

Graham was actively involved in his community and served on or led numerous boards. He was a former Board Chairman of the North Carolina Chamber and The United Way of Central Carolinas. He was also a devoted alumnus of Wake Forest University. He served on the Board of Trustees and was chairman of the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Board of Directors. Graham also instilled a love for the school in his three children, who are all Wake Forest graduates. He created an athletic scholarship to honor his late father, who played football at Wake in the 1930s. The school honored Graham late last year by the naming of the Graham W. Denton, Jr. Commons in the WFU Charlotte Business Center. He was also given the Distinguished Alumni Award.

In his retirement, Graham pursued his many passions. He was an avid collector of model trains, a childhood hobby that he never outgrew. He played golf whenever possible, and rarely missed a Wake Forest or Carolina Panthers home football game. He was an endeared member of the Blowing Rock community, which had become his primary residence in later years. He was a member of the Blowing Rock Country Club, Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church, and served on the Board of Trustees of the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum.

His friends and family will remember him as a joyful and lighthearted man, who loved to laugh and was always optimistic, even as he battled his disease. He was at his happiest when surrounded by his loving family and friends, and in a very unique way, he could find the fun in any situation. His enduring strength and spirit will never be forgotten.

He is survived by his devoted wife of 28 years, Anne Fink Denton; daughter, Mary Denton Lunsford and husband, Bill; daughter, Elizabeth Denton Shah-Khan and husband, Murtuza; son, Graham Williams Denton, III (Wills); grandchildren, Liza, Will and Charlie Lunsford; sister, Barbara Denton Biddix; nephew, Charles Graham Biddix and wife, Maryanne; and niece, Bryn Biddix Miles and husband Mike.

A service to celebrate Graham's life was held 2 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, at Myers Park Presbyterian Church. A private burial was held in Blowing Rock.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Anne and Graham Denton Cancer Research Endowment Fund, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Office of Development and Alumni Affairs, PO Box 571021, Winston-Salem, NC 27157; and to Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1218 Main Street, PO Box 393, Blowing Rock, NC 28605.

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