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MSU mourns retiree and former department chair Richard Dandeneau

Dr. Richard DandeneauMorehead State University mourns the passing of retiree Dr. Richard J. Dandeneau, who died Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, at Homestead Acute Care in Lexington at age 95.  

Dandeneau was a professor of journalism and chair of the Department of Communications at MSU. He was also an advisor to the student newspaper, “The Trail Blazer,” and served as a university representative to the Kentucky Weekly Newspaper Association. He retired in 1990 and was recognized as a professor emeritus. Dandeneau also taught at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, the University of Illinois-Urbana, the University of Miami (Florida) and the University of the Redlands in California. He also served as a public relations writer for Michigan State University in the early 1950s.   

He was born Feb. 27, 1925, in Detroit, Michigan and was a Navy veteran who served in WWII and served as a U. S. Coast Guard Reserve officer at U.S. bases during the Vietnam Era from 1965-70.  

He received a B.A. in journalism and English from Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio, in 1948; an M.S. in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1953; and a Ph.D. in speech communication from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, in 1961.   

He was a member of the Lexington Singers, the Kentuckians Barbershop Chorus, and the Donovan Singers. He took up learning to play the saxophone at age 82, playing in the Lexington New Horizons Band. He was involved in choral music groups and taught himself to play the guitar.   

In addition to his wife, Billie Jo (Barrows) Dandeneau, he is survived by daughters Sharon (Pete) Gibbons and Judith (Richard) Calhoun; son John R. (Rocio) Dandeneau; stepdaughters Kelly (Manfred) Muschong, Merilee Olson; sisters-in-law Maridy Dandeneau and Sara Barrows; grandchildren Dan (Christa) Dandeneau, Melissa Medina, Kyle (Alex) Gibbons, Holly (Caleb) Gallagher, John (Savannah) Dandeneau, Christopher Dandeneau, Austin King, Joe Muschong, Jenna Muschong, Michael Whitt, Bryan Whitt, and Christopher Whitt; 11 great-grandchildren, several nieces and nephews.  

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, private graveside services with military honors will be held at a later date at Camp Nelson National Cemetery in Nicholasville. Memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Fund (Sanders Brown Center on Aging), Morehead State University, or to a charitable organization of one’s choice.  

Donations in Dandeneau’s honor to the Soar to New Heights Scholarship Campaign may be made at Checks can also be mailed to the Office of Alumni Relations & Development, 150 University Blvd., Box 1887, Morehead, KY 40351. Please designate that your donation is for the Soar to New Heights Scholarship Campaign.   

Donations to the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Fund may be made at Checks can be mailed to UKHC Philanthropy, SBCoA, P.O. Box 34184, Lexington, KY 40588. 
Photo Caption: Dr. Richard Dandeneau assists Cathy Justice of Olive Hill with MTD training. Photo from the 1983 edition of The Raconteur.