Dena Holbrook

Obituary of Dena Holbrook

Dena Holbrook passed away peacefully on March 9th, 2023 in Tucson, AZ. She was born to Betty Mae Pohl & William C. Butler on October 20, 1948 in Rhode Island. After her father William Butler had passed in 1963, Betty remarried Jack Stewart. Dena is the 2nd of four children, survived by her brothers Mark Butler, Mike Butler, and Steve Butler. 


Dena graduated from Hilltop High School in San Diego, CA and continued her education first at the University of San Diego, before transferring to San Diego State where she joined the Gamma Phi Beta Sisterhood. After a year, she transferred to University of San Francisco where she graduated with a degree in physical therapy. After college, she traveled for 10 months around Europe, being the outgoing person she was and exploring the world. Dena discovered and began working for Letterman Hospital and eventually found her way to Shriners Hospital for Children, where she worked for 40 years in San Francisco and in Sacramento, CA. Throughout her career, she oversaw Radiology, Lab, Pharmacy, OT & PT, Orthotics & Prosthetics, Hospital Media, Child Life, and made her way to upper administration. Dena dedicated her work to helping others, was very passionate about her job, & loved the people she worked with. She later in life chose to retire in Tucson, AZ.


Dena’s hobbies included distance running & participating in marathons, sailing, and ski trips. She also had some fun ladies groups like bunko and the wine club where she lived in El Dorado Hills, CA. She met Dave Holbrook after a ski trip, whom she married in her parents back yard with her closest friends and family. They produced their only child, Krystina Holbrook, who was born on January 6, 1989 in San Francisco, CA. Of all the joys of her life, she loved being a mom, and was an incredible mother. Her daughter was her whole world, and she expressed that everyday through actions of deep love, sacrifice, willingness and grace. Their bond was very special and unique, and lives on.


Dena was an amazing woman. She was kind, intelligent, funny (always making jokes, she had a sharp wit), hardworking, caring, and so much fun! She was a people person & could strike up a conversation with anyone and make a friend. She had the best laugh, those who knew her would agree. And was genuinely herself- a straight shooter. She always spoke about the importance of family & cherished them. She will be loved and greatly missed by all who knew her.


Dena’s wish was to be cremated. To celebrate her life, there will be a ceremony held on

July 8th, 2023 at 11:00 am at the Tohono Chul Gardens in Tucson, AZ.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Shriners Hospital for Children in Dena Holbrooks memory.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dena Holbrook, please visit Tribute Store

Celebration of Life

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Friday, September 8, 2023
Tohono Chul Park
7366 North Paseo Del Norte
Tucson, Arizona, United States
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