Published: Feb. 23, 2010
Updated: Feb. 23, 2010
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From Dean Nancy Andrews:
It is with a deep sense of regret and sorrow that I share the news that Dennis Rickman, PhD, assistant professor of ophthalmology, died February 21 after a long illness.
Dennis was a highly valued Ophthalmology faculty scientist, and the spouse of Catherine Bowes Rickman, PhD, associate professor of ophthalmology. Ophthalmology Chair David Epstein shared that Dennis had a zest for life, and he was filled with optimism, good cheer and humor. He was admired as a gentle, compassionate man who cherished his family. He will be missed by friends and colleagues around the world.
Dennis was born in Charlotte in 1951 and grew up in Bessemer City and Albemarle. He graduated in 1978 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Psychology. In 1991, he earned a doctorate in Anatomy and Cell Biology from the University of Southern California. At Duke, he studied the roles of known risk factors for neurodegenerative diseases on the integrity of the optic nerve. In his long quest to find cures for degenerative eye diseases, Dennis created ScifEyes, a non-profit dedicated to research in stem cell biology to restore eyesight.
Dennis was a man of remarkable talents. He was a skilled actor who performed with The Groundlings improvisational comedy troupe in Hollywood while pursuing his doctorate. He was a deft magician adept at card tricks and feats of misdirection. He was a polished writer of poignant stories about growing up in Albemarle, collected as “Southern Exposure.”
Visitation will be held Thursday, February 25, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. at Sisk-Butler Funeral Home in Bessemer City with a service following in the chapel. A memorial service will be held at 4:00 p.m. Friday, February 26, at the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 4907 Garrett Road, Durham. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Our thoughts and condolences go out to Cathy and all of Dennis’s family at this time.