Nancy Dinneen

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.

18 Condolences

  1. Hope Christiansen on January 6, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Dear David, kids, and grandkids,

    I am so very sorry about the loss of your beloved wife, mother, and grandmother. I loved her dearly. I just bought her a birthday card yesterday! She has been on my mind. Nancy made my years in Lawrence so much brighter. I will never forget her. I wish you comfort and peace at this time of great sorrow.


  2. Michael on January 6, 2011 at 12:00 am

    David, you were a better husband than I could ever hope to emulate. I remember Nancy as warm, witty, liberal, and realistic about the world, especially certain of our colleagues. We’ll miss her, and hope to see you relaxed and looking after yourself.


  3. Tami Scheibach on January 6, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Nancy had a life full of such joy: a devoted husband and children, a great career, time to travel, and finally, lovely grandchildren. During the best and the most difficult times her beloved David was always there by her side. I will remember her wit, intelligence and curiosity, her love of good wine, and her hospitality. I am glad that Nancy suffers no longer. I know she is doing cartwheels in heaven and she will be putting on fantastic parties for everyone there.

  4. Hollie Markland Harder on January 7, 2011 at 12:00 am

    As a graduate teaching assistant at KU from 1985-87 who benefitted from Nancy Dinneen’s gracious hospitality, I just wanted to let you know that her memory lives on in Boston when I serve her chicken liver paté; she was so generous to share the recipe after one of her holiday parties!
    I send you my sincere wishes of deep sympathy, and I hope that you will find solace in the fact that your wife meant so much to so many.

  5. Lars Leon on January 7, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Dear Steve and family: I am sorry to read of your mom’s passing. I really didn’t know her but from reading the obituary it is clear she had a beautiful life. It is very apparent she touched many lives in such a positive way. I am sorry I won’t be able to attend the visitation since I will be out of town at a conference.

  6. Lynn Harrod on January 7, 2011 at 12:00 am

    So sorry to read about the loss of your wife. You and your family have always been an inspiration to me and my endeavors. I am out of town, but wanted to let you know you are in my prayers.

  7. Kathy Comfort on January 7, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Nancy was such an inspiration to me; she had style, grace and a wicked sense of humor. She knew what was important in life; family, friends, good food, win and conversation. I will never forget the twinkle in her eye. Those who knew her loved her and she will be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to family in this difficult time.

  8. Kathy Comfort on January 7, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Nancy was such an inspiration to me; she had style, grace and a wicked sense of humor. She knew what was important in life; family, friends, good food, win and conversation. I will never forget the twinkle in her eye. Those who knew her loved her and she will be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to family in this difficult time.

  9. jocelyn kitchen on January 7, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Barb, Kate, Steve, Xander,Mattie and Bridget,
    My deepest sympathy to your family. It sounds like your mom (and grandma) was a remarkable person, and I know she lives on in all of you.
    Love and Peace
    Jocelyn Kitchen

  10. Geneviève et François Marcot on January 8, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Nous pensons avec émotion à Nancy qui nous a accueillis avec tant de prévenance à Lawrence en 1993. Nous l’avons revue avec bonheur chez elle en Bretagne, puis chez nous, à Besançon (France). Elle était curieuse de tout et d’abord désireuse de connaître les autres et de leur être agréable. A Dieu, pour Nancy et Au revoir pour David.

  11. Rich Menninger on January 8, 2011 at 12:00 am

    You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers, not only at this time but in the days ahead.

    rich and gaynia menninger

  12. bonnie hall on January 10, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Barb I’m so sorry to hear the news. I now know where you get your spunk, charm, and looks. You are much loved. And my thoughts are with you.

  13. Shirley Stephens-Mock on January 14, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Dear Kate,I was very sorry to hear of your Mother’s passing. I never had the privilege of knowing her, but she must have been a great Mom to have produced such a great daughter. My condolences to you and all your family, and joy to your Mother on her new journey.

  14. Stéphanie A. Richard on January 20, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Cher Professeur Dinneen,
    Je suis très attristée par ce qui vient d’arriver. La perte de Nancy est une épreuve que j’espère vous arriverez à surmonter. Nancy a été une femme très comblée par votre entourage: vous et les enfants étiez toujours à ses côtés, et vous avez pris soin d’elle sans faille. Warm thoughts and condoléances to you and Steven.

  15. Deborah Shair and Olivier Tarnaud on February 1, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Olivier and I were very saddened by this news of Nancy’s death. We have fond memories of her (with David and Barbara) in Brittany a few summers ago, where we shared your house and a wonderful moment. And other memories from years ago in Kansas have remained with us as well. Our thoughts are with you during this time…

  16. Terry Sescourka on December 28, 2011 at 10:25 am

    David and family, I am so sorry to hear of Nancy’s passing. Though I have never had the pleasure of meeting any of your family I do feel in my heart that you and Nancy had a marriage made in heaven. Your very warm Christmas letters have been something I have looked forward to over the last few years. I’m very glad your family is all around for you, David.

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  18. robert alexander abudei on June 24, 2020 at 4:29 am

    i remember her; her eternal patience with cervantes!

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