Denise NaughtonOctober 23, 1947 ~ August 25, 2019 (age 71)
MARY DENISE “DENI” NAUGHTON October 23, 1947 – August 25, 2019
71 years ago, Deni said she was born “butt first, folded like a lawn chair” on what her mother said later was an interminable, sweat-soaked day in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Vee and Bill Naughton were first-time parents! Amazingly, they had three more children: Tim, Pat, and Colleen. Each sibling afforded Deni many opportunities to practice her burgeoning executive abilities. Her brother Pat described his older sister as being “like a mother” to him during his early childhood. The Naughton’s moved all over the country during Deni’s youth and teenage years. When Bill and Vee decided to settle in the Chicago area, Deni continued to migrate. She lived in Washington DC, then moved west to San Francisco, where she stayed for 20 years. During this time, she had a variety of different occupations: working as an executive assistant to very important people, performing on stage as a dancer – um, not ballet or tap –, and as a developmental literary editor/coach. She was also writing a magical book on Sharazad from The Arabian Nights (her spelling was best). She published several small articles throughout her life as well (if only her family could remember where).
In the early ‘90s Deni moved to Colorado Springs, where she lived for the remainder of her life. She spent much of her early years in Colorado Springs helping to take care of her young nephew and niece, Paul and Elise. They are both infinitely grateful for her astonishing inspiration and guidance in their lives. Deni led by example, radiating happiness and content, while being unapologetically true to her incredibly unique person. Elise says the most important thing Deni taught her was to think for herself.
Later in life, Deni pursued higher education, traveling to Vermont several times a year to complete her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Her Ph.D. in Australian film was nearly complete. She was motivated by a great love for movies and a deep connection to Australia. It’s very likely she knew more about Australian film than anyone on Earth. Sadly, she didn’t finish the dissertation, so if you must know about Australian film, you will likely have to do the research yourself.
Deni’s involvement in Eckankar was a very important part of her life. She said she yearned for the loft of a ‘sparkly’ butterfly over that of an earthbound ‘ugly’ caterpillar. Deni discovered her spiritual teacher in Eckankar, who validated her vast phenomenal experiences with past lives, dreams and Soul Travel. Eckankar was her path of spiritual freedom. Spanning forty years, Deni served as a well-loved and respected Eckankar cleric, teacher and leader. Deni met her closest friends in Eckankar, including her lifelong friend Alex who brought her to his home in Australia and inspired her fascination with the country. Her friends in the Eckankar community were essential, reliable and steadfast supporters, errand runners and aides during her time of greatest need.
Deni was the type of person who made everyone feel important. She was an incredible listener, had an easy laugh, and a lighthearted way about her that was always inclusive. Alex said the three things he cherished most about her were:
“Her loyalty to her family and good friends; her capacity to love and hold that love, even when, and if, let down by it; and, her devastating sense of humor.”
Deni treated her cancer and a host of other debilitating issues that left her blind, hunched over and oxygen deprived as uninteresting adversaries. She didn’t complain. She kept her spirits up and behaved with dignity, grace and compassion until the end. Deni’s beloved niece Elise said at the last moment of her aunt’s life: “I felt overwhelming joy and love as she left her body. It was really incredible. Everything is good.” Deni is survived by her brother, Patrick Naughton, sister Colleen Naughton Strong, brother-in-law Bill Strong; nieces and nephews: Stephen Steim, Samantha Lewis, Paul Naughton and Elise Naughton; in addition to numerous close friends and relations who were the family she got to choose.
A memorial service will be held on September 28th from 11- Noon followed by lunch and shared remembrances at the ECK Temple of Colorado 7110 W. Mississippi Ave, Lakewood, CO 80226
In Lieu of flowers please make memorial contributions to: either Eckankar or Planned Parenthood.