Deenie Kinder Neff
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1957 - 2013
Deenie M. Kinder Neff passed away the morning of January 26, 2013 after a brief but courageous battle with cancer. She leaves her husband of 28 years, Hector Neff, and two sons, Andrew and Daniel, who were the center of her world. Other surviving family members include her mother, Marjorie Kinder, her brother, John Kinder, her stepfather, Stanley Pierce, and her uncle, Orson Kinder. Deenie was born to Ward Kinder and Marjorie Aguire Kinder on September 14, 1957, in Sebastopol, California. She grew up on a three-acre farm, raising championship pigs for 4H. Her intellectual gifts became obvious early, in her mastery of the bassoon, chemistry, math, French language, and other subjects. She attended Santa Rosa JC and UC Berkeley before earning her BS in Economics at University of Wyoming. Later, she earned MS (1983) and Ph.D. (1987) degrees in Economics at UC Santa Barbara. Deenie was married briefly to the late Gregory Beirne, and then to Hector Neff from 1984 on. They lived first in the Bay Area, where Deenie worked as an economist for PG&E from 1983 to 1985. After a year back in Santa Barbara, they moved in 1986 to Washington DC, where Deenie worked as an economist for the US Office of Management and Budget and Department of Health and Human Services. In 1990, Deenie began her teaching career at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. The rewards from her excellent teaching could not compare, however, to the rewards of raising her two sons, so she turned
in 1995 to part-time teaching and consulting, working at University of Missouri Columbia in both
capacities until 2002. This gave her the freedom to watch kid's soccer, basketball, track, and Taekwondo,
enlist music teachers, hike and bike on the MKT Trail, and experience the joy of producing the next
generation. Along the way, she herself earned a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo.
In 2002, Deenie, Hector, Andy, and Danny moved to Long Beach, California, partly in order to be closer
to both sides of their family. Over the next 11 years, Deenie made many friends through music, kid's
soccer, high-school track, cross-country, and swimming, and part-time teaching in the Economics Department at CSU-Long Beach. The "walker moms" provided support, laughter, and great stories. With the move to Long Beach, Deenie and Hector also reconnected with old friends from graduate school days at UCSB. Deenie played bassoon in the Long Beach City College orchestra, band, and wind quintets, and in 2008 she learned alto saxophone, which she played in the LBCC City Jazz band. In 2009, Deenie and Hector saw their first-born son, Andrew, off to college at UC-Berkeley, and in 2012, their second son, Daniel, started college at UC-Merced. The empty nest brought up discussions of the next thirty years, to which both looked forward. They had already begun traveling, to Vienna, Salzburg, and Bratislava in October, 2011, and to Guatemala in August, 2012. To facilitate the travels, Deenie re-mastered her German and French, and learned Spanish from the ground up. Deenie started showing symptoms of the cancer that would kill her in November, 2012, but it was not diagnosed until December 28. Her death, exactly four weeks later, leaves a gaping hole in the lives of many people. Few could match her intelligence, and none could match her competence in guiding and advocating for her sons. Deenie's memorial service will take place at 2:30 pm, Saturday, February 23, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Long Beach, 5450 East Atherton St., Long Beach, CA 90815. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Deenie's name to: Long Beach City College Instrumental Music Programs. Make donations payable to "LBCC Music Scholarships" and mail to LBCC Music Dept. (B6) 4901 E. Carson St., Long Beach, CA 90808; attn: M. Fulbright. Please sign the guestbook at www.presstelwgram.com/obits.
Published in the Long Beach Press-Telegram on Feb. 17, 2013