David Tilton Denhardt

February 25, 1939June 27, 2020

Dr. David Tilton Denhardt died peacefully after a long battle with dementia at Beacon Place Hospice in Greensboro North Carolina on June 27, 2020 at 81 years of age.

“Dr. Dave” is survived by his former spouse Georgetta Denhardt in Greensboro NC; brother Trevear Penrose of Plymouth UK; cousin Valerie Lake of Sacramento California; children, Laura Denhardt Romberg (husband Barry) also of Greensboro, Kristin Maxwell (husband Brad) of Pickering Ontario, and David H. Denhardt (wife Sonya Lee) of Calgary Alberta. He was the proud grandfather of eight, Sam (wife Kayla) and Jesse Steinberg, Alex, Siena and Kylie Maxwell, and Nathaniel, Leila and Calum Denhardt, and great-grandfather of two, Piper and Beckham Steinberg. He is preceded in death by his father David Burton Denhardt of Colusa California, mother Edith Tilton Penrose of Cambridge UK, stepfather Ernest “Pen” Penrose, and brothers Trevan and Perran Penrose.

David was born on February 25th, 1939 in Sacramento California to Edith Tilton Denhardt (later Penrose) and David Burton Denhardt who was killed hunting prior to David’s birth. He was raised in Sacramento by his grandparents during the Second World War with his beloved cousin Valerie Tilton (now Lake) and rejoined his mother, stepfather and brothers in Baltimore MD after the war. It was there that he completed high school with a memorable sojourn in Australia during Pen’s sabbatical of 1955/56.

David was a proud Eagle Scout and accomplished outdoorsman with a particular fondness for hiking, canoeing, downhill skiing, and travel in general – loves that he shared with his family. He organized a number of memorable adventures for the family over the years, not the least of which included a year living and travelling in the UK and Europe during his own sabbatical of 1977/78.

Dr. Denhardt completed his undergraduate studies in Chemistry at Swarthmore College and earned a PhD in Biophysics from Caltech in 1965. He was a Faculty Member (research and teaching) at Harvard in Cambridge Mass, McGill University in Montreal QC, Western University in London ON, and Rutgers University in Piscataway New Jersey. He has over 250 publications in the areas of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Systems Physiology, and served as an Editorial Board Member of many reputable journals.

Dr. Denhardt’s passion for improving our understanding of the fundamentals of human biology through cellular biology, molecular biology and genetics were unrivalled. He believed a better understanding of the building blocks of life would aid in the fight against diseases like cancer and, as such, dedicated himself to research that would expand this understanding. Among his proudest accomplishments were his work and study on the Osteopontin (OPN) gene that was discovered by his team at Western which he continued to research over decades with international collaborations. He sought to further determine OPN’s impact on tumour cells and cancer development, injury and inflammation, bone metabolism, and a multitude of other systems.

During this time of pandemic there will be no public funeral. The family intends to gather to spread his ashes once we can all be together again. A virtual memorial service will be held July 8th at 3pm Eastern Standard Time on ZOOM by Laura’s Synagogue: Temple Emanuel in Greensboro, which has adopted Dr. Denhardt and our family as among its own over the years. Rabbis Fred Guttman and Andy Koren will officiate. All will be welcome to participate via Zoom:

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In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Alzheimer's Association (, or to the Human Rights Campaign or an appropriate charity of your choice.

The family would like to thank the staffs at Brighton Gardens of Greensboro and at Beacon Place Hospice for their dedication to the care of others and the extraordinary care they sought to provide Dr. Denhardt. This has been an extraordinarily difficult time for many but especially for those who serve in care facilities like these during a pandemic that effects their charges more than almost anyone.


David Tilton Denhardt

have a memory or condolence to add?

Sal Pietromonaco

January 3, 2021

My sincere condolences to the Denhardt family. I first met David at McGill University in Montreal. He was my undergraduate advisor in the Biochemistry program. He was always helpful and I appreciated his guidance as a young student starting out in a highly competitive field. I went on to obtain a PhD in Biochemistry and had a research career, often using his well known Denhardt's Solution in experiments. We met at a scientific meeting nearly 20 years after my undergraduate and reminisced about the early years.

Robert Niederman

August 19, 2020

I have the fondest memories of Dave as a generous thoughtful and caring colleague during his many at Rutgers, where we had neighboring labs and shared a large instrument room. I will greatly miss his keen intelligence, his friendship and good humor and deeply mourn his passing.

Alice Liu

August 19, 2020

Dr. David T. Denhardt was a good man and a wonderful colleague and Chair at Rutgers University. Always looked up to and never forgotten. It is with the deepest sympathy to his family as we remember David.

Janice Nini

August 4, 2020

My deepest condolences to David's family. I met him as a graduate student at Rutgers in 1991. He was so bright, dedicated ,and a great mentor who spoke often of his family. He was so proud of you all. I feel honored that I got to know him. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Janice Nini

Uriel Malyankar

July 16, 2020

My deepest condolences on the passing of Dr, Denhardt. I was his student and he will always be Dr. Denhardt to me although by the time I graduated, I had become comfortable with calling Dave by his first name. He taught me a lot about being a scientist, about integrity and believing in scientific facts. He also led by example and I will always remember his words about life. A true gentleman whose passing has made the world a slightly less better place. My deepest condolences - may his memory be a blessing.

John Urey

July 5, 2020

Dave was a good friend at Swarthmore and at Caltech we shared an apartment during our first year as grad students. I first got to know him when we both ran cross country at Swarthmore. He was our best runner and I never had the courage to even run in a meet. We shared lab benches and seminars and he was always open and friendly. We were all jealous that he won Georgetta's love.
In later years we saw much less of each other but he always was available when I reached out to him. I last saw him at our 55th class reunion at Swarthmore. I will miss him as will his family.