John Duane “J.D.” Denhart, 63, died Monday, Dec. 30, 2013. J.D. was known for his animated storytelling, his down home charm, and his love for people and animals. J.D. never knew a stranger. He was quick to make friends with people, learning about their stories, asking them about their day and telling them about his life experiences from growing up in Indiana to driving a tractor-trailer across the cities and towns of North America. His quick wit laced with his stories about catching fish around the Great Lakes, collecting antiques that fueled his love of history and watching hours of John Wayne movies and Rawhide episodes, made him relatable to people.
His magnetism shined through his large blue eyes, infectious laugh and goofy sense of humor. From an early age, J.D. cleaved to importance of family. He lived in a rural area of Boone County, where he grew up with his two younger siblings, parents and grandparents. The family worked together on a farm and raised swine for decades. J.D. spent hours grooming, caring and training his pigs for upcoming county 4-H fairs, where he won grand champion prizes and dozens of ribbons. Throughout his life, he proudly displayed a Hampshire pig figurine in his house to remind him of those nostalgic days on the farm. After graduating Lebanon High School in 1968, J.D. attended Purdue University and was lifelong Boilermakers fan. He became a father to two children, Jennifer and John Lucas, and worked at Dow Chemical for nearly a decade before driving a tractor-trailer across North America. By driving around the country and Canada, he was able to see what made other cities great, eat at local hot spots and make new friends along the way. Because of his knowledge of the country from his travels, J.D. was like a human atlas – always knowing the best route to take without looking at a map. He would even include stories and places to go along the way. He loved to travel, be around people and try new things. While on the road, J.D. met his wife of 32 years, Corinna, in northern Indiana. He loved her completely. He would make sure to tell her how much he loved at least once a day and wrote poems for her to remind her of his undying love.