Lasting Memories

Dianne McDonnell
March 13, 1928-Nov. 7, 2022
Watsonville, CA

Dianne “Denie” Reinle McDonnell, 94, passed away peacefully at home in Pajaro Dunes on Nov 7, 2022. Denie was born in Oakland on March 13, 1928 to Dr. George G. and Evelyn Kane Reinle, the youngest of two daughters. She attended Our Lady of Lourdes, Anna Heads School for Girls, Piedmont High and Stanford University, graduating from Stanford in 1949, with a BA in Chinese. While at Stanford she met the love of her life, George P. “Pat” McDonnell. They met in a Chinese language class; Pat because he already spoke the language and would get an “A”, and Denie because she wanted a challenge. They were married on Sept. 6, 1952. Denie and Pat welcomed their first child, Tim in 1953, followed by Mary, Peter and Julie. Denie and Pat built their home in Ladera in 1955, (now part of Portola Valley) where they raised their children until 1982, when they moved full time to their beach house at Pajaro Dunes. While living in Ladera, Denie was active in her children’s schooling and sports activities and volunteered at Allied Arts in Menlo Park. She joined the working world in the early 70’s, working for Bank of America for 10 years. She was also very active in her parish, Our Lady of the Wayside, teaching catechism and serving as president of the parish council in the late ‘70s. While living in Pajaro, she worked for C&N Tractors for over 8 years, joined PEO, played tennis, did ballet, was part of a Mahjong club, a quilting club, a knitting club, served on the board of the Pajaro Valley Arts Council, and for many years was on the Pajaro Dunes Landscape Committee. Denie was a great seamstress, knitter and quilter, creating pieces her family will enjoy and cherish for generations to come.

As well as enjoying the creative arts and volunteering, Denie loved to travel with friends and family, enjoying trips to London, Ireland, Palm Desert, the Napa Valley, “The Islands” (Hawaii) and Lake Tahoe, among other destinations. One of the last and most memorable trips with Pat before he died was to China where he was born and raised. She also enjoyed, for many years, monthly luncheons and the annual Christmas party with the “dirty dozen,” her group from Piedmont High. She will be missed by all her friends and family. Denie was predeceased in death by her parents, sister Barbara, husband Pat and daughter Mary. She is survived by her sons Tim (Maggie), Peter (Reneé), daughter Julie (John), 8 grandchildren (Kelly, Michael, Erin, Patrick, Shea, Bray, Lauren and Katherine, each of whom will sorely miss Grandma Denie’s waffles), and 1 great grandchild (Millie). The family wants to thank Denie’s exceptional caregivers, Vera, Maria, Nuria and especially Molly Pesquiera.