Nancy Lane Dinneen was born February 1, 1932, in Woodside, New York, the only child of Leonard Patrick Lane and Lillian Anderson Lane. She married David Allen Dinneen on June 2, 1956, in Manhasset, New York. She is survived by her husband David, daughter Kate Dinneen and son-in-law Thomas Howe, daughter Barbara Dinneen, son Steve Dinneen and daughter-in-law Jennifer Ball, and three much-loved grandchildren, Xander, Matilda, and Bridget Casad, all of Lawrence.
Mrs. Dinneen earned a BA in Spanish from Smith College (1953), and an MA (1955) and PhD (1972) from the University of Kansas. She was a professor of Spanish at Washburn University for 28 years. She retired in June 2000 and is remembered for her outstanding teaching, friendly rapport with students and colleagues, and extraordinary capacity to manage course overloads without complaint.
Mrs. Dinneen was a long-time member of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, the American Association of Teachers of Spanish, the Modern Language Association, the University Women’s Club Spanish Playreading Group, the Zodiac Club, two book clubs, and the KU Alumni Association, as well as a frequent contributor to the Lawrence Interdenominational Nutritional Kitchen (LINK).
She loved to travel, and lived for extended periods during the 1950s and 1960s in Mexico City; Saigon, Vietnam; Grenoble, France; and Barcelona, Spain. In her middle and later years, she traveled throughout the British Isles, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Greece, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, and Tunisia. To the amazement–and periodic consternation–of her friends, family, and doctors, she continued to propel herself independently through space and across oceans, despite a twenty-year struggle with chronic, progressive, and crippling rheumatoid arthritis. For a too brief, but very happy and tasty (gourmet and gourmand), period, she and David, and numerous itinerant guests (a salon rivaling Gertrude Stein’s, with a much better view) spent summers in a seaside village in Brittany, France, with a short walk to the beach, to the boulangerie, and to houses of neighbors ready to raise a glass.
She loved to entertain, a fact especially appreciated by generations of Graduate Teaching Assistants. She was a caring friend. Even when unable to walk easily, she continued to visit and prepare meals for friends in times of illness and loss, joy and celebration. Until felled by a serious stroke in November 2009, she maintained a lively correspondence with scores of friends across the world.
She instilled in her children and grandchildren a respect for history, a thirst for travel, a passion for well-baked cookies, and an appreciation for the power of tenacity. Nancy Dinneen was a woman of fierce loyalties and indefatigable will.
A Rosary will be recited at 6:30 p.m. with visitation to follow until 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 9, 2011 at Warren-McElwain Mortuary. A Memorial Mass will be at 11:00 a.m. Monday, January 10, 2011 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church. Inurnment will follow in Pioneer Cemetery.
Memorials in her name to Audio Reader or LINK may be addressed to Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th St., Lawrence, KS 66044.