Alfred “Denny” Denison, CLP, died August 16. He was 97.
Denison was born in Estonia and immigrated to the United States in 1938. Before he finished high school, Denison was drafted and assigned to the Army Medical Corps. He began his career in prosthetics at Walter Reed Army Medical Center fitting veterans with prostheses from 1944 to 1946.
After he was discharged, he began working for Hanger in Chicago. In 1958, Denison was among the first prosthetists to be certified by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics & Prosthetics.
In December 1958, Denison purchased Merrick-Hopkins Prosthetic, Chicago, and recruited Ed Valestin as his partner in 1959. During the next 40 years of practice Denison worked with clinical teams to enhance the care of adults, veterans, and children and building relationships at the University of Illinois, veterans’ and children’s hospital amputee clinics. He also shared his knowledge as a faculty member at Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center (1959-1962) and was chairperson of the ABC exams (1962-1963).
Denison was a founding member and president of the American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists (the Academy) in 1976 and a founding member and president of the Midwest Chapter of the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association in 1980. The Academy honored him with the National Clinical Commitment award in 1998 and 2010.
Denison sold his interest in Merrick-Hopkins to Valestin in 1982, but continued to work with him until the mid-1980s. After retiring briefly, Denison joined Scheck & Siress in 1987, where he worked until he retired in 2017.
Called the “grandfather of Chicago prosthetics” by the Chicago Tribune in 2008, Denison worked in O&P for more than 70 years.