She was also incredibly generous. I contacted her (of course) when I was putting together Ladies, Start Your Engines, an anthology of women writers about cars and driving, and she not only sent me a signed copy of her terrific collection of AutoWeek columns, By Brooks Too Broad for Leaping (since that day on my shelf of treasures), she suggested half a dozen names of other women I should get in touch with.
When the book came out, I was interviewed on the NPR show Fresh Air, and they had Denise on as a special guest (another kindness of hers). The callers were uniformly excited to talk to and reminisce with her (with the exception of someone I'd gone to high school with), to the point that the host (it wasn't Terry Gross, but now I've forgotten who) felt bad for me & kept trying to steer the show back to me & my book. I didn't care, I was just as excited as everyone else.
A wonderful life. Friend to whoever crossed her path. Good writer.