Denny Lane | In Memoriam | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Published December 16, 2013 at 2:12 p.m.


As I understand it, Denny was from and spent a lot of his youth in the Atlantic City and New York City areas starting in 1947. As a youth he was able to accidentally throw a water balloon into a patrol car window and get away with it. He went to Washington College and Fordham University, starting his college career at the age of 16 and graduating with a BA in international politics. Denny was a member of Young Americans for Freedom. In 1961 and '62, he worked on the William F. Buckly NYC mayoral campaign, and in 1964 he was a campaign worker for the Barry Goldwater for President campaign. Who would have thought Denny was a Republican at one time. At one point he was the Vermont rep for NORML (National Organization for Marijuana Reform), FEAR(Forfeiture Endangers American Rights) and FAMM (Families against Mandatory Minimums) and a member of the Marijuana Policy Project. He was also founder and chair of the Vermont Grassroots Party (VGP) and in '96 and '98 received enough votes in the elections to make the Grassroots Party the third viable political party in Vermont. By doing this he was able to piss off reporters from most of the major publications in Vermont. He ran for Vermont governor in '94 and '96, Vermont secretary of state in '98, and Vermont auditor in 2002. He also ran against George W. Bush in 2000 on the ballots of Vermont and Minnesota. Denny was an advocate  for the end of marijuana prohibition for most of his life and played a major role in the 420 demonstrations in Burlington back in the day. He believed in educating and making people aware of  diverse subjects ranging from the Federal Reserve, the banking system, executive orders, the evils of drug prohibition and the  display of gold-fringed American flags (you know what it means?). He ran several retail businesses: Native American arts, health foods, mail orders — you name it, he probably sold it. He was also the one to introduce Snapple drinks to the state of Vermont. While working for Advanced Independent Research Lab he created light sculptures and was able to sell the Grateful Dead a couple of the Plasma light sculptures for their light shows in 1985. He loved four hobbies: fishing, baseball, "The Powder Hounds all stones," real and online poker, and smoking weed. Oh, and let's not forget pyrotechnics for any and all occasions.
He was also a longtime character of the Mad River Valley and a very worthy adversary  to Dave Dreckter, "former beloved sheriff of the valley." He also loved all his animals and especially his last longtime friend, the Amazing Blue — she was a dog goddess.

Denny was a very kind and gentle soul and at times an enigma to most, and he would always go out of his way for a friend when he could. Denny died peacefully in his sleep (that lucky bastard) a couple of weeks ago in Waitsfield. But he was definitely a longtime Warren resident, so let's just  make that clear for the record.

He will be sorely missed by all that knew him. So Denny, don't Bogart it, pass it on.

All grass root party members of the past are invited to attend the Warren 4th for remembering the GRP and Denny Lane. For info, please contact

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