Jane Denton, 81; Advocate For U.S. Prisoners of War

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Jane Maury Denton, wife of former U.S. senator and Vietnam prisoner of war Jeremiah Denton Jr., died Nov. 22 at a Norfolk hospital after a heart attack. She was 81.

Mrs. Denton helped organize the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia in the 1960s, after her husband, a Navy pilot, was shot down and captured in 1965. He was held for almost eight years in a North Vietnamese prison.

Her advocacy work was credited in the group's efforts in obtaining humane treatment and the ultimate release of American prisoners.

Her husband drew international attention in 1966 when he was being interviewed on North Vietnamese television. He blinked in Morse code the letters "t-o-r-t-u-r-e," letting U.S. intelligence officials know what was happening to the prisoners.

Denton, who retired as a rear admiral in 1973, was elected in 1980 to the U.S. Senate as a Republican from Alabama. He served one term. In September, the couple moved to Williamsburg.

Besides her husband, Mrs. Denton is survived by seven children, Jeremiah Denton III of Virginia Beach, Donald Denton of Philadelphia, James Denton of Washington, William Denton of Williamsburg, Madeleine Doak of Houston, Michael Denton of Richmond and Mary Denton Lewis of Atlanta; a sister; 14 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

-- Associated Press

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