In loving memory of

Denise Kinlaw
April 3, 1948 - June 30, 2021

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 (indicating the Program in Physical Therapy in memory of Denise) or the charity of their choice.


Julia Accola wrote on Jul 19, 2021:

"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."

Virginia Kaczmarek wrote on Jul 14, 2021:

"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"

Nancy Hockert wrote on Jul 7, 2021:

"I was fortunate to get to know Denise through the Mayo School of Health Sciences. We even shared an office for a brief time. She always had such an infectious smile and was such a joy to be around. I remember her fondly. God has taken home a good person. "

Elizabeth Draper wrote on Jul 6, 2021:

"Denise was a kind and genuine physical therapy instructor, one that I have remembered since I met her almost 20 years ago as a student. She cared deeply for her profession and patients, and her students were better clinicians for having benefitted from her insight and knowledge. Blessed be her memory and those who are mourning. "

Kim Jensen wrote on Jul 6, 2021:

"I will always remember Denise as a wonderful instructor, mentor, and co-worker. She was such a kind soul and had a wonderful connection with her patients. She will be missed."

Maureen Musselman wrote on Jul 6, 2021:

"I will remember Denise for her warm smile and kind regard for everyone she met. I enjoyed our interchanges and was amazed at the depth and breadth of her knowledge and her kind willingness to teach others. Her warmth and kind character gave a brightness to this world which will be sorely missed. May the memory of the joy of her smile offer her family solace at this sad time. The world has lost a wonderful individual"

Laura Schroeder wrote on Jul 6, 2021:

"I first met Denise when she was my teacher in P.T. school, she always had that warm, soft-spoken and wise way of talking with you. Later, I got to know Denise as a colleague and through her music. I will miss her and her sweet, gracious way of moving through life and I can only imagine that she has already joined the choir of angels!"

Tom Schwalen wrote on Jul 6, 2021:

"After accidentally amputating a finger and having it successfully replanted Denise was one of the dedicated and talented hand therapists that enabled me to regain much of the use of my replanted finger. I recall Denise had the strongest but most gentle hands of the therapists who helped with my recovery. It was my pleasure to know her both as a therapists and a friend. Rest in peace sweet lady. "

Peggy Demydowich wrote on Jul 5, 2021:

"I am so sad to read this. I enjoyed getting to know her through the years and had many walks with her around the Relay For Life track. Thank you for your friendship Denise ? Peggy Demydowich"

Peter Amadio wrote on Jul 5, 2021:

"Denise had a smile for everyone. A strong, caring, and inquisitive person, Denise left a lasting impression on her many patients, coworkers, and students at Mayo Clinic. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with her for many years, and will carry her memory with me. Peter Amadio"

Ann Jones wrote on Jul 4, 2021:

"Denise will be remembered by her many coworkers and generations of students who were mentored by her, her patience, and her knowledge. "

Mary and Kerry Wixon wrote on Jul 4, 2021:

"Denise was one of the kindest and most friendly people we met at Rochester Covenant. My son enjoyed her as his Sunday School teacher and her musical tributes. Blessings - sing with the Angels!"

With Love & Admiration, Ellie & Dave Dunn wrote on Jul 3, 2021:

"May God's Peace that passes all understanding guard the heart's & minds of Denise's family & so many friends. A woman of great faith, a Treasure to know."