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Dennis Donegan 1944-2012 Dennis Donegan, beloved husband of Daphne Markham, passed away peacefully on May 19th after a protracted pulmonary illness. He is survived by his wife, Daphne and his son, by his first marriage and daughter-in-law, Justin and Sarah Donegan, and two grandsons, Liam and Silas, of St. Paul, Minnesota. Dennis was the third of six children born to Dr. Justin Donegan and Catherine Walsh Donegan in Chicago, Illinois. His surviving sisters, Cathy O'Brien and Patricia Donegan and his brothers and their wives, Brian and Martha and Kevin and Kathy Donegan also mourn his passing as do his many cousins, nieces, nephews and Markham brothers and sisters in-law. His older brother, Michael, died in 1971. Dennis was a 1962 graduate of New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois and attended The University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. Before moving to San Francisco in 1972, Dennis worked on the floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange. In California, he pursued his passion for fresh foods and the culinary arts. After launching his first restaurant, Oui Fondue, in San Francisco, he established a highly-praised charcuterie and restaurant, Le Pique Nique, in Oakland where he perfected varieties of sausages and pâtés. Soon he was distributing his flavorful products to Bay Area fine food shops and restaurants and garnering raves from food critics including "Gourmet" magazine. At the turn of the century, Dennis, ever curious, began a career as a Microsoft trained network engineer. For the next decade he worked for both AT&T and Pacific Bell in the Bay Area. His happiest years began in 1992 when he married his lovely Daphne. Born in San Francisco, raised in Los Angeles, Daphne soon became an involved member of the Oakland community. Daphne and Dennis traveled widely in North America, South America, and Europe. In the late 90's they were drawn to the Languedoc region of France. Ultimately they purchased a 150-year-old house built against the village of Caunes Minervois' ancient rampart wall. They lovingly restored the house and built lifelong friendships with residents of the village. All who knew Dennis were charmed by his informal and generous manner. He enjoyed people from all walks of life and had a talent for eliciting the very best from all of us. The humor and caring of this fine man will be missed by all who were fortunate enough to know him. Friends and family will attend a small memorial service on June 2, 2012 at 10:00 AM at The Best Western Corte Madera Inn, California. Dennis and Daphne shared a love of nature, kayaking, hiking and travel. Donations may be sent in his memory to: The Sierra Club Foundation, 85 Second Street, suite 750, San Francisco, California 94105, 415-995-1780; foundation@sierraclub.org
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from May 27 to May 31, 2012
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