Our dear sister, daughter, aunt and friend, Denise Kinlaw, 73, walked the road to glory to meet her Savior Jesus Christ June 30, 2021, at Methodist Hospital surrounded by her family and friends. She was born to Robert T and Girlena Kinlaw April 3, 1948, in Chester PA.
Denise graduated from Chester High School in 1966 and graduated from Ohio University in Athens OH, with a degree in pre-physical therapy and zoology. Following her dream, she attended the Mayo School of Health Sciences in the Program of Physical Therapy in Rochester MN, graduating in 1972. Denise treated general outpatients and then became a Certified Hand Therapist and focused her career in that specialty. In 1973 she began to teach in the Physical Therapy Program and received The Mayo Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence, the Outstanding Educator Award from the Mayo School of Health Sciences, the Dale Shaffer Outstanding Alumnus Award and, for her excellence in patient care, she received the Karis Award. She retired in 2016 after 43 years of service as a dedicated professional and teacher at the Mayo Clinic.
Denise's love of music included playing the oboe and cello in high school and blossomed through her active roles in her church choir and bell choirs, her solo work, and ensemble singing, as well as memorable roles in musicals with Rochester Civic Theater. She enjoyed multiple crafts and participated in softball, cross-country skiing, biking, and attending concerts. Denise was a valued member in numerous small groups and Bible studies. After her initial cancer diagnosis, Denise became active in the LiveStrong and Relay for Life programs.
In addition to her father, she is preceded in death by her half-sister Carol Morgan. She is survived by her mother Girlena Kinlaw of Chester PA, sisters Jennifer Boyd and Barbara Hairston of Baltimore MD, and half-brother Ronald Smith of New York; her nephews Michael Boyd, Tyler Boyd, Dorsey Hairston, William Morgan Jr. and nieces Brooke Hairston, Pam Morgan-Fontenot, Carol Morgan, Bernice Lafette, Lisa Morgan, best friend Bonnie Potter (Chuck), god-daughters Lauren Olson (Eric) and Abbey Potter (Ben Brueske), and several great nieces and nephews.
A celebration of life service will be held Saturday July 10 at 11:00 at Rochester Covenant Church 4950 31st Ave. NW Rochester, MN. The church will be open at 10:00 and preservice music will begin at 10:40. In lieu of flowers, those who wish to remember Denise in a special way may make gifts to Mayo Clinic at www.philanthrophy.mayoclinic.org (indicating the Program in Physical Therapy in memory of Denise) or the charity of their choice.
Rochester, MN 55901
Rochester, MN 55901
I met Denise at the Y in Rochester. She was always smiling and friendly, and I will miss seeing her there. May you be blessed with many good memories of Denise.
I have been trying to think of all the perfect words to say about Denise. She always made it easy for words and conversations at the YMCA. She was a valued friend, a valued volunteer, a valued advocate and support to all of us. She was selfless. She was always striving to make life easier for those around her. She noticed things and she'd approach people and have such good conversations. On behalf of everyone at the YMCA, we will miss her greatly. She's made an impact on so many. She will be remembered and she's made our programs stronger. Sending prayers and support to all who knew and loved her. Virginia Kaczmarek, Executive Director, Rochester Area Family YMCA