Obituary of Gene Denman
After a courageous two-year battle with cancer, Gene Denman died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Rough and Ready March 6, 2020. She was born and raised, Gene Ana Sedlacheck, in Mt. Lebanon, PA just south of Pittsburgh. While a freshman at Penn State University 61 years ago she and her husband, Dick, eloped to begin their life together. A stay-at-home mom, her home was always a summer gathering place for the neighborhood kids for popsicle and hotdog lunches and for station wagon field trips to the zoo, museums and the library. During the 1960s and 70s she was an “inner-city” Pittsburgh head start teacher, served as a Democratic committee woman and was a member of Mt. Lebanon Citizens for Community Relations. She also served as a board member of the Pittsburg chapter of the United World Federalists. A pacifist, she strongly argued and marched against the Viet Nam War taking part in both the 1967 and 1972 marches in Wash. DC. During the 1960s she was an active member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and ACLU. As a lifelong advocate for universal civil rights, she was until her death a faithful financial supporter of such programs as Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Gene and family moved to Grass Valley in 1977. She worked for over 11 years in the catalogue department at J. C. Penney while she commuted to Sacramento State University where she became an honors graduate and earned her teaching certificate. While at Sac. State she substitute-taught at the Nevada County Juvenile hall and Sierra Mountain and Nevada Union High schools. Over the decades, out-of-the-blue surprise hugs from students she had not seen in years has been a testament to the deep caring she felt for every one of her students. Gene continued her studies while teaching both private and public special education, again becoming a Sac. State honors graduate. this time from their master’s degree program. Gene retired from teaching in 2005 after 5 years teaching for the Placer County Office of Education.
An avid reader, Gene was equally at home discussing the history of the Russian Vs. the French revolutions, her favorite recipes or her favorite Shakespeare play (King Lear), Hamiltonian finance vs. Keynesian economics, ancient Greek history and mythology, organic chemistry, or the many shrubs and flowers she planted to beautify her home. With her beautiful smile she was for her husband, a fascinating, lifelong partner, companion, best friend and for 63 years (they dated for two years) “the passionate love of my life”. Although preceded in death by her oldest son, Everett in 1992, she is survived by son David, daughter-in-law, Jessi and granddaughter Julia of Sylmar, CA, and son, Rich, daughter-in-law, Michelle, and granddaughter, Gianna, of Dublin, CA, and her husband, Dick, of Rough and Ready.
Throughout her life Gene steadfastly stood up for the rights of the disadvantaged. But her special love and support was for all animals. From bees and butterflies to retired performing elephants she never met an animal-cause that didn’t deserve her ongoing support. She wanted no memorial service but did hope that anyone wishing to honor her life would do so by making a contribution to any of these, among the favorites of the many animal organizations that for decades enjoyed Gene’s love and support. Or please contribute your own animal welfare favorite.
In Grass Valley – Sammy’s Friends Spay and Neuter Program ASPCA
Alley Cat Allies’ Trap-neuter-release program
the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)
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