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1924 - 2006
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Obituary for Donna Panknin Denton

Donna Panknin Denton, 82 of Waco, passed away on Friday, September 22, 2006 at a local care center. Services will be conducted at 2 pm Monday, Sept. 25, at the Seventh and James Baptist Church, 602 James Avenue, with Dr. Raymond Bailey officiating. Burial will follow in Oakwood Cemetery. Visitation will be Sunday from 6 to 8 pm at the OakCrest Funeral Home, 4520 Bosque Blvd.

Donna was born on February 4, 1924 in Wier, Kansas to Albert and Idell Panknin. She married the love of her life, Robert in 1963. Donna was a member of Seventh and James Baptist Church for many years.

As Waco's first female certified public accountant, she graduated from Baylor University in 1948 with an accounting and economics degree and worked as a public accountant in Waco for two years. She then moved to Tulsa, Okla., to work with the Tulsa Oil and Gas Estate, and became the first female computer programmer with the Humble Oil Co. in Houston.

She was appointed Baylor's first and only female Vice President in 1972, and retired after 33 years of dedicated service in December of 1994. Donna started at Baylor in July of 1962 as Internal Auditor, and later became Systems Coordinator in September 1964, Assistant Controller in September 1965, Budget Director/Assistant Business Manager in April 1968, Assistant to Executive Vice President in June 1970, Assistant to Executive Vice President/Senior Internal Auditor in September 1971, and the Vice President of Business and Financial Affairs in May 1972.

She and her husband enjoyed golf, reading, traveling, entertaining and were avid Baylor fans and faithfully followed all of the Baylor sports. She was preceded in death by her parents.

Donna is survived by her husband, Robert of Waco; children, Diane Davis of Dallas, Patrick Denton of McGregor, Kyle Denton of Stockton, Ca, Kris Denton of Denver, Col, and Mark Denton of Oklahoma City, Ok; several grandchildren, one great grandchild, cousins and friends.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Alzheimer's Association, to the Donna Denton Endowed Scholarship Fund at Baylor University, or the charity of your choice.


Baylor's first female vice president dies
Waco Tribune-Herald
Saturday, September 23, 2006

By Emily Ingram
Tribune-Herald staff writer

Donna Panknin Denton, Baylor University's first female vice president, died Friday morning. She was 82.

"She was a woman ahead of her time," Baylor accounting professor Bill Thomas said. "This profession was a long time dominated by men. Donna, she fought the battle of a woman in a man's world."

Denton became Baylor's vice president of business and financial affairs in 1972, previously holding numerous positions since her hiring in 1962, and served until her retirement in 1994. Her colleagues described her as a sharp, organized woman who carved out a career in the male-dominated field of accounting.

Baylor assistant vice president for financial services and treasurer Bob Spence said Denton was a "very special lady" who hired him twice, once as a student worker and then as an accountant in 1978, during her tenure at Baylor.

Through it all, she remained a friend and mentor.

"She was one of the hardest-working individuals at Baylor," Spence said.

Denton would even take accounting ledgers home to review during her leisure time, Spence said.

Denton's love for accounting was rivaled only by her love for Baylor athletics. While her health permitted, Spence said, she and her husband, Robert, attended "almost every Baylor athletic event."

Her husband taught physical education at the university from 1961 to 1999, according to a release from the university.

Besides her husband, Denton is survived by five children and numerous grandchildren.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Donna Panknin Denton, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.

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