Published: December 7, 2016
ANN ARBOR, MICH. — Denny Tracey of Ann Arbor, Mich., passed away on November 29 after an extensive illness. Denny was born in 1940 in Columbus, Ohio. He attended Penn State University and Ohio State University. He was a history teacher and a guidance counselor in the Columbus suburb of Upper Arlington.
When he married Patty Beaudette in 1983, he moved to Ann Arbor and became a full-time antiques dealer. His business, Denny L Tracey Antiques, was founded in 1976 and was located at 2115 Frieze Avenue in Ann Arbor.
Denny participated in antiques shows from New Hampshire to Iowa, focusing in recent years upon folk art. He was a well-known and highly regarded figure at the Rhinebeck Antiques Show, the Midweek show in Manchester, N.H., the Triple Pier show in New York City and the Fox Valley Antiques Show in St Charles, Ill., and many others.
Remembering Denny, Barn Star show promoter Frank Gaglio reflected, “Having just learned of Denny Tracey’s passing, a wave of sadness, reflection and gratitude flowed over my existence.
“I met Denny over three decades ago at an antiques show in Ann Arbor and was immediately taken with his soft-spoken and sincere mannerism coupled by a true interest in folk art. Not being a ‘furniture dealer,’ Denny was able to focus on the nuances and delicate qualities of pieces that filled his keen eye with a dash of fun as well as artistic measure.
“Speaking as a show manager who had the pleasure of working with Denny and his former wife Patty for more than a decade at our then-fledgling MidWeek in Manchester Show and most recently our Rhinebeck shows, unlike the proverbial Forrest Gump ‘box of chocolates never knowing what you are going to get,’ Denny was just the opposite, always knowing what you are going to get by way of quality, authenticity and an enticing display welcoming new collectors as well as old friends…he never let me down and always brought a smile to my face.
“Recently, with his health challenges mounting, Denny was also known as a fighter…always preparing for the next show and never giving up….one of the legacies he left behind for all of us to remember.
“Like the one-of-a-kind carvings Denny loved, to the sophisticated art and objects he presented, Denny will always be remembered among the dealer and collector population as just that…one of a kind.
“You will be deeply missed, dear friend, and thought of by many this holiday season.”
Said Irene Stella, promoter of the former Pier shows in New York City, “Denny was a treasure to have in our shows, a well-liked, true gentleman who always presented a display of excellent material that pleased and sometimes amazed both our customers and his fellow dealers.”
With their divorce, Denny and Patty Tracey’s Americana collection was sold at Skinner in November 2006, comprising 309 lots. The results were a testimony to the couple’s good eye for color, form and design. In all, the two-day auction of American furniture and decorative arts, including the Traceys’ collection achieved $4,010,238, including buyer’s premium, the second highest Americana total on record for the firm at the time. Among the highlights of that sale, the Tracey collection offered a paint decorated glazed corner cupboard, probably Snyder County, Penn., 1820-40, which finished at $28,200, and an Eighteenth Century child’s pine painted chest over drawer from New England that took $22,325.
And, in 2007, the Denney collection also contributed equally choice lots to Garth’s early American antiques and Ohio Valley auction.
Denny will be buried with his parents in Millersport, Ohio. He had no family but special friend Judy Parker who provided companionship, support and care.
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