Denison Stewart Knewstub, 67, an arborist who loved poetry, music, sculpting, art, and growing large sunflowers in his front lawn, died on Dec. 18 in Bryn Mawr.

Mr. Knewstub, who battled Parkinson's disease for 18 years, died of heart failure, his wife, Mary Ann McConnell Knewstub, said.

"He was so courageous about the Parkinson's," she said. "He never complained, he always fought it and he was always upbeat."

One of her last memories of her husband will be of the high-five he gave her just before he died, she said.

Mr. Knewstub was born in Pembroke, Bermuda, where his father, the Rev. John Cecil Knewstub, was a minister.

He graduated from Radnor High School in 1962 and joined the Marine Corps. He served in Vietnam in logistics from 1963 to 1967. Mr. Knewstub attended Abilene Christian College and Villanova University, where he studied black history.

Mr. Knewstub worked as an arborist at Bryn Mawr College and also as an independent businessman in the field.

His wife said she met her future husband when he helped her retrieve her cat from a tree on the Bryn Mawr campus.

A sports fan, Mr. Knewstub loved to watch the Eagles and Phillies. He enjoyed the outdoors and one Thanksgiving climbed Hawk Mountain in Kempton, Pa.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Knewstub is survived by his daughter, Katherine Stewart Hilpert; a son, Justin Hurley Knewstub; two grandchildren; four brothers; and four sisters.

A Funeral Mass will be said at 11 a.m. Friday at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont. A viewing will begin at 10 a.m. prior to the Mass. Interment will follow at Old St. David's Church in Wayne, where his father served as minister from 1945 to 1966.

The family asks that contributions be made to the Parkinson's Council in Bala Cynwyd at theparkinsoncouncil.org.

Contact staff writer Mari A. Schaefer at 610-892-9149 or mschaefer@phillynews.com.