LEE WICK DENNISON

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  • "Lee was my aunt by marriage-as my Grandmother, Gretchen was..."
    - Jenica Dickerson
  • "Lee was a dear, dear neighbor and friend. I will miss..."
    - Catherine Cecere
  • "Farewell to my fond friend. I have cherished the time we..."
    - Gail Karp, Cantor
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DENNISON LEE WICK DENNISON Lee Wick Dennison, of Chevy Chase, Maryland. Youngstown, Ohio and Traverse City, Mich., died peacefully at Munson Hospice House on Friday, August 31, 2012, after a brief illness. She was 60. Lee was born June 2, 1952 in Youngstown, Ohio, the daughter of Carl L. and Janie Wick Dennison. She attended Interlochen Arts Camp in 1966-67, and was a 1970 graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy, where she studied piano. Lee attended Lake Erie College, and Oxford University, graduating with a B.A. in music history, and received an M.S. in Accounting from Georgetown University. She was a Certified Public Accountant. Lee began a lifelong career with the National Endowment for the Arts in 1975. She served in a variety of increasingly important positions such as Grants Officer, Assistant Director of the Challenge and Advancement Programs and then as Director, Organizational Capacity. These programs awarded grants to arts organizations for organizational development and the enhancement of their financial positions. She knew more than anyone about the inner workings of arts organizations throughout this country and cared passionately about them all. In 1988 and 1999 she received the Distinguished Service Award, the highest award offered by the NEA. In 1991 she was named a Senior Executive Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. She was a member of the Class of 1998, Leadership America, a national women's leadership organization. Following her retirement from the NEA in 2004 she served on the boards of the Religious Society of Friends in Bethesda, MD, the MARPAT Foundation, and Interlochen Center for the Arts. Lee enjoyed world travel and home renovation. She traveled widely throughout the United States, Central America, Latvia, Europe and beyond, cruising on the QE III or enjoying walking tours of Mayan ruins. Her love of walking also gave her the opportunity to be supportive of causes to which she was committed. Lee was a two-time participant of the Washington, DC Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, walking 60 miles to raise funds for Breast Cancer research. Lee also enjoyed turning her small, nondescript early 20th century carriage house into a beautifully renovated gem in the heart of Chevy Chase, MD. Lee was preceded in death by her parents Carl L. and Janie Wick Dennison, a sister, Gail Todd Dennison; her step-mother, Gretchen Dennison Birrell and cousin Lorinda T. Butler. She is survived by her beloved dog Quantum whom Lee adopted when her sister, Gail died; cousins Howard D. Sutton (Selden) of Sarasota, Florida; John P. Sutton (Jane) of Grass Valley, California; Josh Butler (Denise) of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and countless friends across the country, and especially in Washington, DC, Maryland, Ohio and Michigan, who will miss her dearly. She will be remembered for her devotion to the arts, many social causes for which she cared deeply, her extensive exotic world travels, her laugh and wit, her insatiable curiosity, and steadfast devotion to lifelong friends who were her family. Donations may be made to the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown Ohio, or Interlochen Center for the Arts in Interlochen, Michigan. A celebration of Lee's life will be held on Sunday, October 14, at 3 p.m. in Phoenix Theater on the campus of Interlochen Center for the Arts, Interlochen, Michigan. There will also be a celebration of her life in Washington, DC this fall. The family is being served by Reynolds-Jonkoff Funeral Home in Traverse City, Michigan.Donations may be made to the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown Ohio, or Interlochen Center for the Arts in Interlochen, Michigan. A celebration of Lee's life will be held on Sunday, October 14, at 3 p.m. in Phoenix Theater on the campus of Interlochen Center for the Arts, Interlochen, Michigan. There will also be a celebration of her life in Washington, DC this fall. The family is being served by Reynolds-Jonkoff Funeral Home in Traverse City, Michigan.

Published in The Washington Post on Sept. 6, 2012
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