David Tilton Denhardt
February 25, 1939 – June 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:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 837 7686 7472
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Alzheimer's Association (https://act.alz.org/site/TR/Events/Tributes-AlzheimersChampions?pg=fund&fr_id=1060&pxfid=632760), 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.
- Alheimer's Association
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
David Tilton Denhardt
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.