We have lost a wonderful man and son-in-law. Dennis and Sharon and I also worked together for 25 years. He will be missed more than I can express…
Dennis M. Glazener, 1955-2010
Dennis Michael Glazener, 55, passed away unexpectedly in Rex Hospital early Sunday morning, September 26.
Dennis was born in Hendersonville, NC, on February 6, 1955, the only child of the late Katherine “Kittie” and Walter Warren “Doc” Glazener (a local veterinarian). He graduated with honors from Hendersonville High School in 1973 then attended the NC State University School of Design in Raleigh, where he graduated at the top of his class in product design in 1979. During his time at the School of Design, he won the Industrial Design Society of America’s Student Award and the Product Design Book Award presented by Professor Vincent Foote. Yet Dennis always wanted to practice landscape architecture. That time was coming.
Dennis met Sharon Bell, the daughter of master landscape architect Richard C. “Dick” Bell, while at NC State. Sharon was studying landscape architecture. In the summer of 1978, between his junior and senior year, Dennis worked as an apprentice for Sharon’s father in the Water Garden office complex on Glenwood Avenue/Highway 70 West, Raleigh. After Dennis and Sharon graduated, Bell invited both of them to come to work with him full-time at Bell Design Group, and Dennis began to fulfill his desire to practice landscape architecture. Dennis and Sharon were married in Raleigh in January of 1981.
In 1979 and 1980, Dennis worked with Bell on the Southern Living Home Show in Charlotte and on the documentation for the Falls Lake master plan to prove that there was recreational value on the lands associated with the lake. In 1981 and 1982, he helped the Raleigh Home Builders Association produce their Home and Garden shows in the Raleigh Convention Center. From 1982 to 1986, he worked with Bell on the master plan, site development, and landscaping of Bermuda Village and Country Club in Winston-Salem. As a team, they also designed the Raychem Corporation master plan and landscaping from 1981-83, then again on phase two in 1990. That project received a national award from the American Association of Nurserymen. In 1986, he worked with Bell on the Moore Square Transit Block in downtown Raleigh, transforming what could have been just a bus stop into a welcoming public space with benches and fountains. The project received a design award from the NC Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. In 1987 Dennis and Bell began work on the Gilford College Master Plan, which would lead to the design of a 22-mile freeway around Greensboro known as Painter Boulevard.
In 1990, Dennis became a full partner with Bell and the name of the firm was changed to Bell/Glazener Design Group. Soon afterwards, Dennis designed the Cabarrus Memorial Hospital complex in Concord, NC, his first large solo project. He worked with Bell on the Peace College master plan in Raleigh from 1990-95 and on the St. Mary’s College master plan, including soccer field, from 1989-1999.
Dennis was instrumental in the design of many of the firm’s major landscape architecture projects including Bicentennial Plaza (with the NC Museum of Natural Sciences) and the Wilmington-Blount parking deck in Raleigh; East Carolina University’s Clark-LeClair baseball stadium, the School of Nursing, Joyner Library, the main dormitory areas and campus street design; and UNC-Greensboro’s central plaza area.
Dennis was a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, but he was never interested in winning awards, so he rarely entered his own projects in awards programs. A perfectionist, he never felt his projects were completely finished since landscape architecture depends largely on how well planting materials mature and thrive over many years.
Dennis was very interested in the arts and was an artist himself, completing numerous paintings of his own. With his wife, he amassed an impressive art collection. He also loved to visit Key West, and he and Sharon spent many weeks there.
Dennis was also an environmentalist. Among other conservation projects, he worked with Sharon and Dick Bell on the use of solar energy and green house design for the NC community college system.
He also spent a great deal of time and energy on the mid-century modernist house he and Sharon shared in Country Club Hills in Raleigh.
Dennis loved to go backpacking and trout fishing. And throughout his life, he loved animals, especially the many cats he and Sharon have taken in and loved for many years. He was also a salt-water aquarium enthusiast and always maintained one of his own.
Dennis is survived by his wife, Sharon, his mother-in-law and father-in-law Mary Jo and Dick Bell, his brother-in-laws Richard C. Bell Jr. and Ed Stewart, his sister-in-law Cassandra Bell Steward, and his nieces and nephews Raney, Chloe, Duncan, and Max, as well as a great-niece Evelyn. Besides his family, his closest friends were John Cantrell of Kingsport, TN, Francesco Ianneti of Raleigh, Robert Motley of Knightdale, and Algean Garner of Chicago, IL.
Dennis will be cremated and a private memorial will be held in for him in the near future. In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer that donations be made in his honor to the SPCA of Wake County.