DENNIS B. CEARLOCK ~ Class of 1959
1941 - July 9, 2007

Dennis Cearlock - 1959

Dennis Cearlock - recent


Dennis Cearlock, Orcas Island resident, died in a car accident on July 9 in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

He was born in 1941 in Wenatchee to Joe Cearlock and Gwen Endrizzi. He attended school in Wenatchee and Richland, graduating from Columbia (Richland) High School in 1959. He attended Washington State University, earning a degree in civil engineering in 1964, and a masters degree in sanitation engineering in 1965. He also earned a Ph.D. in sanitation engineering from the University of Washington in 1976. His professional career spanned nearly 40 years with Battelle as an engineer and manager. He joined Battelle as a research scientist in the water resources group in 1965. Later he directed Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s government and industrial programs at Richland, before becoming director of research in 1983.

In the early 1990s, he was promoted to corporate senior vice president and general manager at the Battelle Memorial Institute’s world headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, where he led the Company’s global health and pharmaceutical business.

Dennis also founded two specialty pharmaceutical companies. He served as president and CEO of both Zivena, Inc., a Battelle subsidiary founded in 2002 that developed oncology drugs, and BattellaPharma, Inc., a firm that developed inhaled drug products from 1999 to 2002.

While in Richland he was a key planner in establishing the United Way Vintners Club. From 1984 to 1998, Dennis served on WSU's College of Engineering and Architecture Advisory Board. He helped the college start the Center for Design of Analog-Digital Integrated Circuits as an industry/university cooperative research effort. He also played a key role in helping WSU gain Battelle support for scholarships totaling more than $550,000.

Dennis had many close Sigma Nu brothers whom he would do anything for. When a February 2000 fire forced the closure of Sigma Nu fraternity at WSU, he was instrumental in a successful fund raising campaign to renovate the chapter house. He received the WSU Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award in September 20, 2003 at the fraternity.

He and his wife, Merrily, made Orcas Island their permanent home for the last four years. During this time the new loves of their life were their eight grandchildren. He enjoyed attending the grandchildren’s activities, working on his golf game, and ski outings. He also served as a member of the Orcas Center Board of Trustees and was a member of the Orcas Center Futures Task Force.

Orcas Center's Executive Director Barbara Courtney said, “Denny brought bold new leadership to Orcas Center and modeled ideal boardsmanship, generously giving his knowledge, time and hard work. From long-range financial planning, to pouring wine at the annual meeting, to grounds maintenance work, Denny threw himself into volunteering for Orcas Center. In the short time I knew him, I watched him inspire a lot of people. He certainly inspired me to work hard and do better.”

He is survived by his wife Merrily, sons Jody and Chris, daughter Synette Williamson, eight beautiful grandchildren, Lexi, Matt, Katelyn, Mitch, Sydney, Drew, J.T., and Maddy. He is also survived by his mother Gwen Endrizzi and eight brothers and sisters.
[Two of the 8 siblings are twins Sharlene and Karlene ('64wb). -Ed]

A service will be held on Saturday July 21, at 3 p.m. at the Bethel Church, 600 Shockley Road, in Richland, Washington. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to either the American Diabetes Association or a memorial scholarship for WSU College of Engineering. Memorial scholarship donations can be made to the College of Engineering and Architecture at WSU in memory of Dennis Cearlock, P.O. Box 642714, Pullman, WA, 99164-2714. American Diabetes Association donations can be made to the Mid-Columbia chapter, through the website

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