Born at home on Nov, 11, 1951, in Anápolis, Goias, Brazil, Lenise was the middle child of nine siblings with four brothers and four sisters. Her childhood, spent between a bustling town in central Brazil and her family’s farm, was ripe with games and mischief. At the age of 15, she and one of her sisters were sent to live for one year with an uncle in Massachusetts so they could learn English. Lenise was an artistic young person who enjoyed drawing and oil painting. She decided to continue developing these skills by studying architecture at Universidade de Brasilia. After receiving her degree, she left Brazil to travel through Europe and the United States and eventually settled in Lake Tahoe, where she made her home for over 40 years.
Survived by her daughters Lissa and Vanessa, adopted son Kyle, newborn grandson James, and her beloved cats, Maple and Luigi, she is grievously 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 whom came from Brazil to live with her and her then-husband Dennis, each spending a year to learn English and attend Truckee schools.
She and Dennis were partners in business and worked together designing and engineering homes in the Truckee/Tahoe area for over 30 years. Lenise has designed many hundreds of houses and buildings in the area. She said that she would pray for divine guidance to help her create the best house possible for each client she worked with. In the later years of her career, she was able to complete over 20 mountain modern designs, breaking from the traditional Tahoe cabin style to a genre that she personally preferred. These projects were very satisfying for her. Although she completed a course in AutoCAD in the ’80s, she refused to use the computer, drafting 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 heart to many people. She loved hiking and camping, often finding solace in the beauty of nature. She had an adventurous spirit and traveled to many places within the U.S. and abroad. Before her illness began in 2019, she practiced yoga and impressed all when doing headstands 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 fondly called the ‘miracle lady’ by doctors and staff at Stanford and Tahoe Forest hospitals for her ability to rebound all prognoses, a true testament to her personal strength and resilience. She will be dearly missed by her family, friends, and community. Vai com Deus! Go with God!
~ Lissa Dodds, Special to Moonshine Ink