UC Berkeley News


Dorothy Denney

12 January 2005

Dorothy Denney (Photo courtesy Janice Denney)
Dorothy Denney, longtime librarian at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Donner Laboratory Library, died on Dec. 16 after a long battle with cancer. She was 81.

For nearly 40 years Denney provided library support to the 14 faculty members in the Department of Biophysics and Medical Physics until her retirement in 1989. “She was the moving spirit behind Donner Library for many years,” recalls Trudy Forte, a scientist at LBNL who knew Denney for more than a decade.

“She contributed so cheerfully to the success of the work of all of us, and she did so with such tremendous commitment,” says Robert Glaeser, former chair of the library committee for the Donner Laboratory Library. “More than that I remember her because of her warm and friendly attitude, and the ease with which she always ‘dropped everything,’ whether to answer a technical question or just to have a chat and share a joke.”

A resident of Oakland, Denney was born on July 6, 1923, on her grandfather’s farm near Lancaster, Ohio. Her family later moved to Dearborn, Mich., in 1927. After earning her library science degree from Michigan State University, she moved to Berkeley in 1948. She met her husband, Robert Denney, a Berkeley student, while she was working as a librarian in Donner Library. The two married on July 1, 1950.

Denney was a member of the Faculty Club, an avid collector of objets d’art and non-fiction books, and an enthusiastic supporter of environmental causes.
She is survived by her husband, Robert; brother Charles Solt of Stockton, N.J.; sister Frances Ann Fellows of Carmel; daughters Karen Mulkey of San Jose and Janice Denney of Albany; and son Richard Denney, of Berkeley. After a private family ceremony, Denney’s ashes will be scattered near the Pt. Bonita Lighthouse in the Marin Headlands.

Donations may be made in her memory to Sutter VNA & Hospice, 1900 Powell St., Suite 300, Emeryville, CA 94608 or to the American Cancer Society, Attn.: Web, P.O. Box 102454, Atlanta, GA 30368-2454.

— Wendy Edelstein