Phillippe Anthony “Boomer” Denis, 61, of Venice, Fla., died Saturday, March 8, 2014, after a short illness, with his wife, D’Arcy Harrison Denis, by his side.
He was born and raised in Manchester, N.H.
Mr. Denis was a member of the last graduating class of St. Anthony High School, and attended New Hampshire College (Southern New Hampshire University), where he served as the Sports Information Director. Mr. Denis began his career as a sports writer for the Manchester (NH) Union Leader in 1968. He later switched to news, and rose to the Union Leader’s Salem Bureau Chief, where he directed coverage for the largest news zone outside the main office. His coverage included the 1976 Presidential campaign, where he interviewed Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and covered then-President Gerald R. Ford.
Mr. Denis continued his career as a news and sports reporter for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and Journal from 1977 until his death. Between 1981 and 1999, he was also the Public Relations and Marketing Director for two greyhound racing complexes, the Sarasota Kennel Club and the Sanford-Orlando Kennel Club.
In 1977, he broke the news of the capture of Wilfred “Rusty” Bannister, who had kidnapped 15-year-old Charlotte Gross from a campsite at Oscar Scherer State Park. Mr. Denis switched to his first love, sports reporting, and during his career covered the Chicago White Sox, the Cincinnati Reds and the Baltimore Orioles during spring training; Florida State University football; and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their early winless days. Mr. Denis was well-known for his stellar coverage of high school wrestling, swimming, football and volleyball throughout the region and the state. Mr. Denis also spent more than 35 years as a statistician for the Florida State League (Class A) and Florida Gulf Coast League (Rookie).
Mr. Denis was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, and received a liver transplant in January 2013. He recovered and returned to sports writing for the Herald-Tribune, until again taking ill in December 2013.
At the request of Mr. Denis, no service will be held. He asked that memorial donations be made to: Donate Life Florida, 40 Sarasota Center Blvd., Suite 107, Sarasota, FL 34230, or via www.donatelifeflorida.org; or Tidewell Hospice, Philanthropy Department, 5955 Rand Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34238, or via http://tidewell.org/hospice/donors.
Mr. Denis’ family wishes to thank his wonderful friends and the staff of Tidewell Hospice for their love and support.