Denis A. Lape


Died December 5, 2015,Salem, Virginia

College: Davenport

Denis Allison Lape, 76, died Saturday, December 5, 2015, in Salem, Va. He is survived by his wife, Mary Jane Cowan Lape (Roanoke College Class of 1967), of Salem; and his daughter, Alison Jaine Clendenen (Roanoke College Class of 1996), her husband, Christopher Clendenen, and stepson Matthew Clendenen, all of Lexington, Kentucky. Denis was born to Margaret Maloney and Allison Lape of Yonkers, New York on November 9, 1939.He completed high school in Milford, Connecticut and graduated summa cum laude from Yale University in 1961. He was admitted to the graduate program in English at the University of Minnesota solely on the recommendation of his advisor at Yale, without taking graduate record examinations. His PhD was awarded in 1970 after he presented his oral exams in French, German and English. His examiners for those exams congratulated him for obtaining the highest scores ever previously achieved by any PhD candidate in the English Department at the University of Minnesota.Denis taught at Roanoke College for 43 years, focusing on Shakespeare and 19th Century American Literature. Although erudite and a lifelong scholar, he had no interest in publishing. Instead, he devoted all of his energies to the teaching of students, many of whom became teachers, scholars and writers themselves. In recent years he has conducted an informal literary salon in his home, ever committed to facilitating the analysis, appreciation, and enjoyment of fine literature.He was an extraordinary teacher, a clever and funny conversationalist, a tolerant husband, a loving father, and a modest, kind, giving man.No flowers, calls or food at this time, please. A celebration of his life will be held in April. In memorium donations to the Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA, the Salem Public Library, and the Grandin Theatre are welcome.