Cynthia (Cindy) Denenholz didn’t envision going to college near her hometown of Modesto, but her father died at the beginning of her senior year of high school and that sealed her college choice—Stanford University. “Anywhere else would have been too far away from the family,” she says.
Though she enjoyed school, Cindy thought four years at Stanford was “enough school for me.” She would spend the rest of her life to date proving herself wrong about that!
Married to a classmate, Cindy did “some political work, had two kids, moved to San Diego and worked for the telephone company as an operator.” When she and her husband separated, Cindy asked for a transfer and wound up working for the phone company in downtown Santa Rosa.
It wasn’t long before she concluded more schooling would be the ticket to a better life for
herself and her two children. After first obtaining a teaching credential at Sonoma State, she enrolled in Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco at age 31 and commuted five days a week from Santa Rosa by bus. “I’d leave at eight in the morning and be back by five, she recalls.” Balancing demanding schoolwork with two young children at home, she read textbooks, scribbled notes and studied for exams on the bus, as it was the era before laptops. “I liked law school a lot,” she says. “I like learning new things and I wanted meaningful work.”
Remarried to second husband Paul Jamond and with the kids still at home, the trick after law school was to find a good work/life balance. Cindy soon realized that litigation wasn’t for her: “too stressful and sometimes juries would be out late at night.” For many years, she found a family-friendly niche as a Deputy District Attorney in the Family Support Division.
She rounded out her legal career serving as a Sonoma County Court Commissioner, working part time or job sharing for more than 12 years. Retired since 2010, Cindy and Paul have enjoyed bike trips and cruises all over the world and are hoping to hike part of the Camino De Santiago in September. A longtime student of Spanish, Cindy especially likes travel to Spanish-speaking countries.
Cindy was a charter member of Impact 100 “because the concept of group impact giving benefitting my community and directed by women appealed to me.” She’s also involved with the Sonoma County Library as a tutor in the Adult Literacy Program and member of the Santa Rosa Library Advisory Board. She enjoys time with her grandchildren and at a family cabin in the Sierras.
In retirement, she’s taken countless classes through SRJC, AAUW, and OLLI on subjects ranging from politics, the judiciary and history to wellness. Just as she did in college, she’s learning while sticking close to home. It would seem, contrary to her youthful perception, there will never been ‘enough’ school for Cindy.