Rebecca Zoe Ulshen passed away on May 17, 2021 after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer; she was 72 years of age. Born on December 8, 1949 to Dr. Floyd Wolfe Denny, Jr. and Barbara Horsefield Denny, Zoe entered her peripatetic early life in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Over the next few years the family moved to St. Paul, Minnesota; Nashville, Tennessee; and Cleveland, Ohio as Dr. Denny pursued his career as a pediatrician, eventually settling in Chapel Hill in 1961. Zoe graduated from Chapel Hill High, and then followed her broad interests to a Bachelor of Arts degree (Brown University) and Master’s degrees in Recreational Therapy (Duke), Journalism, and Social Work (both UNC), before completing a Law degree at Georgetown University. She put her skills to work providing professional and compassionate legal aid to the elder community and contributing background research to a variety of legal cases at Consilio LLC. Zoe married Martin Ulshen in 1979, but they grew apart and divorced in 1986.
Zoe was a life-long lover of animals, providing a loving home to a family of dogs and cats, most recently Bindi and Krishna. In doing so, she carried on a tradition that caused one family friend to remark that if he were ever to be reincarnated, he wanted to come back as a pet in a Denny household. An avid and accomplished seamstress, graphic designer, and cook—with an eye for color and texture—Zoe found multiple outlets for her creative passions. She had a fondness for the North Carolina shore, cultivated over years of family vacations, and had scheduled one last visit that, tragically, her untimely passing did not allow.
Zoe is survived by her brothers Mark and Tim Denny, four nieces and nephews, and two grand nieces.
A celebration of her life will be held at a future date.
Donations in her name can be directed to the American Cancer Society.