Francis Xavier Denbow, 60, longtime Ruxton mechanic


Francis Xavier Denbow, a maintenance technician and well-known Ruxton mechanic, died of pancreatic cancer April 26 at his Lutherville home. He was 60.

Mr. Denbow was born in Baltimore and raised in Ruxton. He served in the Navy as a signalman from 1964 to 1967, and while in the service earned his General Educational Development certificate.

After leaving the Navy, he began working as a mechanic at what is now the Ruxton Service Center in the 7500 block of Bellona Ave.

"He was a good mechanic, and I learned a lot from him. There was no challenge" that he was afraid to take on, said Michael Mozelack, who has worked as a mechanic at the station since 1977. "He was trustworthy and dependable, and many of our customers were sad when he decided to leave."

"When our kids had trouble with their cars, he tried to take care of it, and if he couldn't fix it because we didn't have a fully equipped garage at home, he'd make sure they weren't getting ripped off by some mechanic," said his wife of 17 years, the former Jane L. Hansinger.

After leaving the service station where he had worked for two decades, Mr. Denbow was employed at a Reisterstown body shop, at Len Stoler Jeep in Westminster, and in maintenance from 2002 to last year at Stella Maris Hospice in Timonium.

For the past year, he had been a maintenance technician at the Mount Washington law firm of DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary.

Mr. Denbow was a member of the National Hot Rod Association and enjoyed attending the organization's drag races.

"We'd drive to races in Richmond, Va., Indianapolis, and at drag tracks in Pennsylvania, and on Sundays watched NHRA races on TV," Mrs. Denbow said.

Mr. Denbow was an accomplished woodworker who built chairs, tables and other furniture for family and friends in his basement workshop.

For many years, he had been active as a Boy Scout leader and enjoyed taking his Scouts on hikes and camping trips. He also enjoyed taking cruises and had visited Russia, Spain, France, Ireland, England and Germany.

A funeral Mass was offered Monday at the Roman Catholic Community of St. Francis Xavier in Hunt Valley, where Mr. Denbow was a parishioner and Eucharistic minister.

"I thought it was fitting that Frank's funeral was held on the Feast of St. Joseph, the Worker," said the Rev. Jeffrey S. Dauses, a longtime friend and pastor of the Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Apostles in Gambrills, who celebrated the Mass. "And when Frank held up his hands at Communion, you could see the calluses and lines of dirt. It was a holy thing, and like Joseph, the carpenter, he found dignity in working with his hands. And they were hands of great strength and love."

Also surviving are three sons, David B. Denbow of Leesburg, Pa., Kenneth Denbow of Lutherville and Michael Denbow of Towson; three stepsons, Patrick M. Sheridan Jr. of Lutherville, Kevin P. Sheridan of Winsted, Conn., and James M. Sheridan of Ancaster, Ont.; two stepdaughters, Mary C. Allan of Bel Air and Kelly J. Sheridan of Timonium; five brothers, William Denbow of Dundalk, Robert Denbow of Takoma Park, David Denbow of Upper Marlboro, Thomas Denbow of Freeland and Charles Denbow of Glen Burnie; three sisters, Jean Zoltowski of Parkville, Joan Heinen of San Antonio and Mary Sue Doyle of Reisterstown; and 12 grandchildren. His first marriage ended in divorce.

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