Papa Den
Dennis A Lane
  • 71 years old
  • Date of birth: Feb 15, 1944
  • Place of birth:
    East Orange, New Jersey, United States
  • Date of passing: Jul 4, 2015
  • Place of passing:
    Bellingham, Washington, United States
Let the memory of Dennis be with us forever

This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Dennis A Lane, 71, born on February 15, 1944 and passed away on July 4, 2015. We will remember him forever.

Dennis A Lane

Dennis A Lane, 71 of Bellingham, WA, passed away at 6:05 am, Saturday, July 04, 2015 at his home in Bellingham, WA. He was born February 15, 1944 in East Orange, NJ, to William and Alice Lane. His life partner and soulmate, Kay Sardo-Lane, of more than twenty years, she survives.

 Also surviving are a number of nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews and great great nieces and nephews as well as a host of cousins.

 His father, mother, sisters Connie and Janice; and brothers Patrick Leon and William A. Lane Jr. preceded him in death.

 Dennis grew up in Westfield, NJ where he attended and later graduated from Westfield High School after which he enrolled at Trenton Jr College and studied philosophy and economics. He later moved to New York City to pursue career opportunities in community development and public broadcasting. Some years later he moved to Bellingham, WA, where he continued his work in the community. Dennis was a writer, poet, musician, artist and philosopher.

 He loved to eat good food and spend quality time with family and friends, he also enjoyed his long walks and getting in touch with nature and treasuring his friendships with the Lummi Tribe.



Memorials can be made in lieu of flowers to the Cancer Research Institute

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Toni Rainey-Johnson on 9th November 2017

"I am Dennis's 1st cousin, his mother and my mother were sisters. I finally reconnected with him a few years ago only to lose touch again. Now to find out this! My heart is truly shattered!"

This tribute was added by Keith Bernardo on 15th February 2017

"Happy Birthday Uncle Den, Gone but never forgotten."

This tribute was added by Kay Kramme on 5th July 2016

"Much love radiating out to you and your PappaD..."

This tribute was added by Juan Casanova on 20th May 2016

"Two days ago  in May 17 2016 came my  72nd  Birthday.  Had  a shot of our preferred añejo Barrilito three star Rum  and lit  up  a Montecristo Habano in memory to the old days and the times we sat in my living room  enjoying the cigars and libations over our magnificent diverse conversations.  I miss our annual reunions and you my friend.  If you take your time and don't reincarnate before my time to transcend arrives I may join you and do some reminiscences about our spiritual travels across the ages.   Your  Friend Juan"

This tribute was added by Kay Sardo-Lane on 16th February 2016

"We have celebrated Dennis’s birthdays together over the past 20 years, including our  Year of the Monkey every 12 years.
As you know, he was a great story teller who was continually in the midst of writing  chapters of a series that was evolving from his deep research concerning northern Africa,  the Middle passage and the men and women who made up a black regiment  that fought in the American Revolution in Provincetown, MA.  He called me his Aaron ("short for editor," I said) and emailed pieces to me to correct or comment on and send back to him for inclusion in his growing novel.  The passage about water below was his last. His lungs were filled and he had stopped playing the flute and singing, but he never stopped creating. This piece was written to go into his descriptions of captives being chained together for months in the hold of the ship where no single language was spoken and no uniform religion practiced or prayers said . Nights are filled with the sounds of sharks which followed the slave trading ships bumping against the walls as they fed on bodies being dumped overboard. Terror and screaming filled the nights of panic in the deep cargo hold.

  The captive Prince, who is protagonist in this section, has helped the cargo of captives to develop a rudimentary language among themselves and this description of being at sea precedes the mantra he taught them to breath in and out together. The breathing together to assuage panic through the nights led to another kind of panic for the ship’s crew when they went into the dark of the hold to be greeted by what sounded like a single huge beast breathing there.:
The Great Water of Emptiness: 

       The Great Waters of Emptiness (The Atlantic Ocean) the day, the night, the Sun, the Moon the vastness of the of the water never stops. It is said that great rivers run under the water.
The rivers stir the waters and change the ways of the water. The water in a storm can be whipped by the wind and throw itself several hundred feet high. It can swallow up whole ships and carry them miles across the water. The water can then turn around and become as smooth as glass the next day. The men on the ship compare the moods of the ocean to the moods of a woman.

     One Moonlight evening huge billowing clouds came rushing in. The clouds quickly surrounded the moon and the sea began to swell. The winds began to build and the ship began to heave to and fro. Lighting began crack and thunder rolled. In short order huge winds began to grow and the waves began to engulf the ship. In the lower crew decks all became quiet and the banter was replaced by fear.  The crack of lighting added brief flashes of light and cascading of water began entering the hold of the ship. The fear, the darkness and the water began filling the ship.

Dennis Lane, 
April 21, 2016"

This tribute was added by Keith Bernardo on 15th February 2016

"Thinking of you and the great memories that we shared and wisdom filled conversations that meant so very much. Happy birthday Uncle Den R.I.P."

This tribute was added by ana lopez on 5th December 2015

"I came back to Bellingham after a 7 year absence to find this news. My heart was sadden as Dennis is so much part of this community. Dennis will continue to be missed. His bear hugs were supreme."

This tribute was added by Juan Casanova on 24th August 2015

"My deepest condolences to Kay and Family .  Denis and I were good friends since 1979. I will miss him and our conversations on nature, anthropology, humanities and philosophy. Older than me by three months I came to considered him much more than a friend; he became my brother  and a kindred soul. May he Rest in Peace."

This tribute was added by Keith Bernardo on 26th July 2015

"To my dear Uncle Dennis, now that you have returned home to the final resting place the table has been set and you are once again reunited with the family that you love so very much. The world has been a better place for knowing you and a sadder one for losing you. Our thoughts and prayers will be with the entire Lane family for an eternity."

This tribute was added by Debbie Neighbor on 23rd July 2015

"My condolences go out to the family and friends of Dennis.  From reading about him I know he is missed and loved by many.  No matter what, it can truly be said that death is an enemy and soon it will be brought to nothing (1Cor. 15:26).  I have found much comfort in the Bibles promise of a resurrection hope of our loved ones at John 5:28, 29 and hope you will too.  Death was never a part of Gods original purpose, in fact he yearns to soon bring an end to it and the suffering it causes your family and friends.  Revelation 21:4 states: "And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away."  I did not know Dennis, but I read his obituary and I hope these scriptures will help to bring some comfort knowing that others care.  If you would like to learn more about the Bibles promises and the hope it brings, please feel free to contact me."

This tribute was added by George Berse on 21st July 2015

"My close friendship with Dennis began in the eighth grade and continued thru the early years of my marraige. He was one of the most amazing people I have ever known. After loosing touch for a few years we ran into each other in the Village one evening and spent an hour standing on the curb catching up . We exchanged contact info and that was the last time I saw Dennis. We traded a few phone messages and then his phone number was no longer in service.Not being able to track him down  had haunted me over the years and lately I found myself thinking of him often. I had a premonition the other day that he was no longer with us and that was when I googled him and found his obit. I would give my right arm for the picture of him and me that used to hang on the wall at Philips B & G  on Staten Island. Dennis my good friend Rest in Peace"

This tribute was added by Kay Sardo-Lane on 18th July 2015

"I am Dr. Ed Bereal and I have travelled with and listened to Dennis’s stories since 1995 when he heard me talk and saw some footage I had brought back from Front lines of the Kosovo.…war  

This huge dark figure rose in the balcony of the old Museum and posed the provocative kind of question Dennis soon became well  known for here in Whatcom county and wherever he went in his lifelong discovery and teaching process.

He said he was here because of Love (you never know where loving a woman, Kay Sardo, will take you) and it was love of people and information he continued to give and push wherever he went.  And he did travel, Dennis was a whirlwind of effort on behalf of people who had no voice, as  television and technology grew more and more critical in people’s lives and less and less aveilable.  He worked tirelessly on both coasts, locally and nationally to bring some conscience to every venue in which he operated.  He mentored and called for student volunteers and lobbied endlessly.  Kay tells me his last phone calls were to schools and Comcast folks to make sure their low income families get free surplus computers and hookups this year.

Kay  and the Opportunity Council spoke to his passion for giving voice to people who have none, including  many videos of their work, a 5 year-long radio program hosted by Colleen Berg and utilization of discarded gaming kiosks to provide touchscreen information for people who come looking for housing, food, childcare and assistance with getting and keeping heat  in their homes .

Always playful and knowledgeable, Dennis escaped his New Jersey upbringing as part of a 60's Black family  in Newark and Westfield, to Harlem streets and the New York Public library where he vowed he got his real education . However, he used the  GI Bill and those of his cousins to attend Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, Penn State and the University of Wisconsin to study communications and geology/paleontology.

In fact, he was a lifelong direct learner and facilitator of other’s learning.  Even before volunteering to join the Marines, serving in Vietnam and Latin American embassy and undercover work, he went as a deckhand on a freighter to Mecca to learn what Islam really was. And learning Islam is many peaceful colors, he came back to confront the street preacher’s “White Devils” rhetoric against white people saying for the rest of his life that ” Hate is  Love gone hungry.”

Dennis’ warm announcer’s voice, and musical talent  as well his love of the martial arts took him  through the many lives he enjoyed telling of. There was little mentioned of this mid century in our “brothers” conversations that he had not carefully researched  or been part of.  There is not time here to begin telling of  his fascinating life which includes everything from pirate radio/ jazz of course/ out of Amsterdam to voice overs and  Hollywood script work, to puppet theaters, to creation of Farmer’s Markets in New York City , his own NPR programs and Public access shows which Florence Rice  still broadcast from Harlem, to flute playing with Yussef Lateef, to giving cameras to kids to make their own videos of their Harlem lives and Bullying and Exclusion in Seattle schools, to creation of public access television and low power radio stations here and around the country as well as serving on important volunteer  Boards , nationally, statewide and locally, the early Whatcom Human Rights Task Force, The Farm Fund, Martin Luther King Day and organizing cross cultural events dedicated to inclusion through potlucks. Dennis did love food, in fact, one of his last  radio shows in New York was “What’s to Eat?”  

He felt truly honored when Catherine Talley and the seniors here at Lummi welcomed him to lunch to learn from them every time he had a question about ways he could use his technology and communication skills to be of help at Lummi.  He played his flute at the Lummi graveyard to honor Catherine, Cha Da Skatum and those whose names may not yet be mentioned

I know Dennis and Kay feel honored and their lives incredibly enriched by having Darrell Hillaire of Lummi Nation as his brother of choice in this life."

This tribute was added by Kay Sardo-Lane on 18th July 2015

"From Frank James MD Bellingham, WA
The crossing over of Dennis Lane is a sea change for our community. He was a quiet yet strong leader that was so much about compassion and caring and so little about himself. Rooted in NYC but a happy transplant to our fair city always in the loving company of his bride and civic leader. They created so much good will and so many institutions in our community that it is hard to account for them all. But most of all Dennis was a man of integrity. A person that saw life for what it is but always held the highest ideals for himself and offered that perspective with kindness and respect. I was fortunate to be with him and Kay through the identification of the conditions that he suffered with, but so grateful that the suffering was not long lasting. I giant of a man in so many respects, yet private and quiet and always there for those of us that needed anything at all.

Thank you Dennis for your love and compassion for all of us. Kay Sardo our love is with you even from the other side of the planet."

This tribute was added by Willian Olson on 17th July 2015

"Dennis sat behind me in Mr. Scott's English class, first period, senior year.  We talked about jazz,  piano - Jelly Roll Morton, and trumpet - Bix Beiderbeck and King Oliver.  I lost track of him after we graduated, but always wondered where he was, and prayed for his well being.  
Kay, I only knew him for my senior year.  I cried when I read that he passed.  My prayers and sincerest condolences are extended to you and the family."

This tribute was added by nancy stewart on 17th July 2015

"I did not know well, but my best memory was listening to him play Vince's "Cast your fate to the Wind'. on piano in auditorium.  Think of him every time I hear the song."

This tribute was added by Sandra Coco on 17th July 2015

"So sad to hear that Dennis has passed: yet we know he is now in a much better place. We shared a few classes at Westfield High. I called him "Pie" and one day he suprised me with a cross necklace. Prayers to his family and friends."

This tribute was added by Martha Sharp on 17th July 2015

"I remember Dennis well from my years at Westfield High School. He was a wonderful friend and I had wondered what became of him. When I received news of his passing, I was surprised that he was not too far away, as I now live just outside Seattle. My heart and prayers go out to his family and loved ones. I will cherish my memories of him many years ago. My name then was Martha Johansen."

This tribute was added by N Sam on 13th July 2015

"Dear Family of Dennis,

I'm sorry that you are experiencing the mourning of losing a love one. Many if not all of us has experienced this, but I would like to share a brief scripture that will may just bring you comfort.

(Revelation 21:4) And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” Thanks for reading."

This tribute was added by Mary Ann Dupree on 10th July 2015

"i remember  DENNIS SO well. he  would visit me at my stall at the bham farmer's market. and HE  would  buy flowers from me, after the market, was over... HE always Had the SWEETEST  TWINKLE in HIS eye.. and SO MUCH  INNER JOY... and sweet LOVE and adoration fOR LIFE... his esprit de  force was SO CONTAGIOUS.... he  was a VERY GENTLE  man.. may  . DENNIS rest in peace. he is with THE ANGELS NOW.... and i am so sad  that he left us.........LOVE you , dude....... and thank you for YOUR SWEET SPIRIT..."

This tribute was added by Ann Hewitt Worthington on 8th July 2015

"Dennis was the most amazing and selfless man I ever knew. Whatever was going on was not about him, it was about whoever was around him or whoever he wanted to help.

He had great personal courage and profound inner serenity in any situation or interaction. His kindness to others was unparalleled.

We are all richer for having known him."

This tribute was added by Keith Bernardo on 8th July 2015

"I Remember When
Dear Uncle Den,
I can remember when I was around five years old or so we would visit Nana and Papa almost every weekend, those were the good old days, Lester and I really looked forward to seeing the uncles, but at that time Uncle Bill and Uncle Leon were away, Uncle Bill was in the Marines serving his country over in Japan and I believe Uncle Leon was in California at that time and Uncle Den was at home, we were always so excited to spend time with uncle Den, we saw him as a pillar of strength, just his physical presence alone was so overwhelming to us kids. We would try to physically challenge him, of course to no avail, but we enjoyed it just the same, typically those events would turn out with him playing the part of a human tree and us kids climbing all over him. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I will remember Uncle Den for his strength, not only physically but emotionally as well as spiritually, I truly cherished what we had, he was my friend my Uncle and my big brother, after all we were only ten years apart. You’re already missed and missed by so many, but I know that we will always be spiritually connected.

                 Nephew Keith"

This tribute was added by Kay Kramme on 8th July 2015

"Beautiful bear of a man with an incredibly light, bright soul- I got lucky having gotten the chance to meet him and know his family, who are a large source of the fuel for his soul- which will keep burning for him- loving him-  Papa Denis, keep burning bright, keep illuminating our hearts , feel surrounded by our love."

This tribute was added by Tara Almond on 8th July 2015

"Kay, I'm so sorry to hear this. I only met Dennis a couple of times and he was one of those people you just instantly connected with. I was so inspired to hear his stories about community radio and some of the projects he had worked on. He was soft spoken but had a glimmer of something special in his eye. He was a kind, lovely soul. I hope you will take some solace in the fact that he inspired myself and others to keep the dream of community media alive."

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This memorial is administered by:

Keith Bernardo


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