Johnny was born on July 24, 1931 and passed away on September 24, 2021 at the age of 90. He was a beloved father, grandfather, and friend.
He is preceded in death by his parents Manuel and Rosa Deniz, his brother Manuel Deniz, his sisters Marie Cabral, and Amelia Fox, and his first wife Wilma Toschi. He is survived by his wife Dorie, his three children, Cindy Shafer, Brian Deniz, and Karen Helton, his step-daughters Jennifer (Weber) Ullmann an Kathryn (Weber) Keener, grandchildren Alan Deniz, Kevin Deniz, Spencer Deniz, Carson Deniz, Ainzley Deniz, Justin Shafer, Jimmy Shafer, Katelyn (Shafer) Nocito, Taylor Helton, Alison Helton, and ten great-grandchildren.
Johnny was born and raised in Madera, California, where he attended Dixieland Grammar School and Madera High School. While a student at Madera High, he was elected President of the Madera F.F.A., and went on to serve the Madera F.F.A. as State Secretary and was awarded the American FFA Degree. Johnny then began at Fresno State to earn a degree in engineering, but left school after being drafted into the Army. He served as a Military Police Officer in Europe during the Korean conflict.
After returning home from the Army, Johnny married his first wife Wilma and began his life-long career as a dedicated farmer in Madera County and on the westside of Fresno County, where he grew tomatoes, cotton, stone fruit, and table and wine grapes, to name a few. During this time, Johnny also established the Madera Pump Company, Almond Tree Hauler, Inc., and Deniz Packing Incorporated. Johnny also left a legacy through his protection of Madera County’s water supply through his 24 years of service as a director, and 15 years as president, of the Madera Irrigation District.
In 2009, Johnny remarried to his wife Dorie, and in 2010 he was awarded the Senior Farmer of the Year award for Madera County for his dedication and hard work with the water district and his years of helping others in need.
Johnny also belonged to the Knights of Columbus as a 4th degree knight, the Madera County Farm Bureau, the Elks Club, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
A Memorial Mass will be held on Monday, October 4, 2021 at 10:30 AM at Saint Paul Catholic Newman Center at 1572 E. Barstow Ave., Fresno, California 93710, with a reception to follow at San Joaquin Winery in Madera at 12:30 PM.
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