Denise Morrison Whitney, 68, of Pemaquid, died April 18 at Hawthorne House in Freeport following a long illness. Born in Detroit, Mich. to David Whitney and Eugenie Carhartt, Whitney was raised in New England. She attended St. Marys in the Mountains from the age of nine until her graduation in 1955. There she developed a love of music, and playing the piano and recorder. Her singing voice, like the one soft pure sound of a flute, remained clear and true throughout her life. During her teens she became an expert swimmer, spending summers giving Red Cross Swim instruction at Biscay Pond. One summer in her late teens she simply decided she would swim from Harbor Island in Muscongus Bay to Friendship, a three and a half mile labor, often through open expanses of cold, choppy sea. Forthwith, one sunny August day, a mildly greased Dennie dove off the island’s dock and headed out against the current, accompanied by her older brother and younger sister rowing a dory beside her. Hours passed, Black Island passed and in the distance gulls and sloops passed. At one point a lobster boat drew near and a bemused voice shouted across the water, "Everything okay?" A tiny army of oars and arms waved back; the young trio oblivious to the peculiarity of the scene. Finally the long length of Cranberry Island passed. On Dennie swam, that strong graceful stroke rarely faltering (as much could be said of the oarsman). At last an alarmingly blue-skinned woman wearing a satisfied smile climbed up the ladder onto the fisherman’s wharf in Friendship astonishing all who beheld her, especially the lobstermen who would never dream of putting even a single big toe into those frigid waters. Throughout her years at Earlham College Dennie taught physically disabled children to swim at a nearby Y. This experience and her care for these children led her to pursue a career based on helping others. Following her graduation in 1959, she moved to New York and received a masters degree in therapeutic recreation at Teachers College, Columbia, New York City. For nearly a decade Dennie worked as an Occupational Therapist, her first position at Montifiore Hospital in the Bronx. In 1965, Dennie became the Recreational Director at New York Rehabilitation Hospital in West Haverstraw, N.Y. By 1970, these long years of helping the lives of the physically challenged, a job which included success and failure but never excluded the continual sight of suffering, anger and despair, fully began to take a toll on Dennie. Understanding her own capacity and stamina, she knew the time had come to change direction. Later that year she accepted a position at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York City. The interim spent in this quiet, august athenaeum filled with rare books and ancient illuminated manuscripts, was absorbing and beneficial. By 1973 however, Dennie decided it was time to come home to Maine where much of her family lived. She left New York and moved to Pemaquid where the second half of her life was spent. Having studied pottery at both The Arts Student League in New York and the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle and then for good measure taking more courses in North Carolina, Dennie became a potter and started her own company, DenMade. At the same time she was and had always been an excellent seamstress and a skilled knitter. Quite naturally, she kept on swimming, perhaps no longer in the icy Atlantic but weekly at the Y in Boothbay. For years, Dennie displayed her necklaces and bowls throughout craft shows in Maine, driving her old familiar Subaru into the state of permanent exhaustion. Deriving pleasure in the continual enhancement of her mind, she also consistently enrolled in available courses on a wide variety of subjects. From early childhood Dennie struggled with unrecognized dyslexia. This made her life so much more difficult yet her many achievements all the more admirable. Fiercely independent, highly principled, honest to a fault, and stubborn well beyond the average mule, Dennie was smart, talented, funny and certainly accomplished. While extremely private, she was also loving, affectionate (those bear hugs left memorable impressions), kind, modest, and charitable. She volunteered at and supported the Bristol Area Library. She was a Literacy volunteer and a generous supporter of the ProLiteracy Worldwide and Alzheimer’s Foundation, a patron of the Skidompha Library project and always generous to her alma mater, Earlham College. Dennie is survived by two brothers, David Whitney and Leverett B. Davis, Jr.; three sisters, Judith C. Gardner, Suzanne C. Phillips and Bethine S. Whitney; stepfather, Leverett B. Davis; nieces and nephews and eight grand nieces and grand nephews. Saying good-bye to Dennie is hard, yet keeping alive the memories and the great love, care and respect felt for her is not difficult in the least. Because best of all, she was a wonderful sister, aunt and friend.