Denise Kinlaw

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 friends and family. 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 a.m. at Rochester Covenant Church 4950 31st Ave. NW Rochester, MN. The church will be open at 10:00 a.m. and preservice music will begin at 10:40 a.m. 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.

Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to be serving Denise’s family; to share a special memory or condolence please visit

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