November 11, 1951 – May 6, 2022
Born at home on November 11, 1951, in Anápolis, Goias, Brazil, Lenise was the middle child of nine siblings with four brothers and four sisters. His childhood, spent between a bustling city in central Brazil and the family farm, was full of games and mischief. When she was 15, she and one of her sisters were sent to live with an uncle in North Carolina for a year so they could learn English. Lenise was a young artist who loved to draw and paint in oils. She decided to continue developing these skills by studying architecture at the University of Brasilia. After graduating, she left Brazil to travel throughout Europe and the United States, eventually settling in Lake Tahoe where she made her home for over 40 years.
She is survived by her daughters Lissa and Vanessa, her adopted son Kyle, her newborn grandson James, and her beloved cats Maple and Luigi; she is sorely missed as a loving, generous, dedicated and sometimes fierce mother who was the foundation and greatest support for her children. She was also the “favorite aunt” of many of her nieces and nephews; 17 of them came from Brazil to live with her and her then-husband, Dennis, each spending a year learning English and attending Truckee schools.
She and Dennis were business partners and worked together designing and engineering homes in the Truckee Tahoe area for over 30 years. Lenise designed several hundred homes and buildings in the area. She said she would pray for “divine guidance” to help her create the best home possible for every client she worked with. Over the last few years of her career, she was able to complete over 20 “Mountain Modern” designs, moving from the traditional Tahoe cabin style to a genre that she personally preferred. These projects were very satisfying for her. Although she took an AutoCAD course in the 80s, she refused to use the computer, drawing everything by hand until her very last project in 2021.
Lenise was a deeply spiritual person. She was modest and generous and opened her home and her heart to many people. She enjoyed hiking and camping, often finding solace in the beauty of nature. She had an adventurous spirit and traveled to many places in the United States and abroad. Before her illness began in 2019, she practiced yoga and impressed everyone by doing handstands and other difficult poses. She watched many sunsets and enjoyed many desserts. Her greatest joys came from witnessing the accomplishments of her children.
Lenise passed away peacefully at home after an impressive battle with leukemia. She was affectionately dubbed the “miracle lady” by doctors and staff at Stanford and Tahoe Forest for her ability to bounce off any odds, a true testament to her personal strength and resilience. She will be greatly missed by her family, friends and community. Go com Deus! Go with god!