CHARLTON/STURBRIDGE — Daniel Joseph Hennessy, 84, passed away peacefully after a short illness on Feb 19 at Overlook in Charlton.
He was a long-time resident of Sturbridge, where he lived with his beloved wife Mary “Marie”(Carey) Hennessy, who passed away in 2011. He is survived by his son Daniel Hennessy, Jr. and his wife Jane Elizabeth; his daughters, Patricia Hennessy, Kathleen Hennessy and Mary Beth Imbarrato and her husband Dave; his sister Margaret Sedlacek; six grandchildren; one great-grandchild; his sister-in-law Mary Frances Hennessy; and four nieces and six nephews. He was also predeceased by his brother Francis.
Dan was born in New York City on April 4, 1933 to Gervaise and Margaret (O’Connor) Hennessy. He attended parochial schools and was an honors graduate of Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx in 1951. Shortly after graduation, he left his high school sweet-heart and future wife Marie and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He completed basic training at Camp Lejeune and as a PFC was soon deployed to Korea – India Company 3rd Battalion. Once in country, Dan was assigned to a machine gunnery unit and soon distinguished himself in numerous battles with enemy forces. He was wounded twice for which he received two Purple Heart medals, a commendation for bravery and a battlefield promotion to Staff Sargent and unit leader. At the end of his two-year enlistment he was offered an OCS commission but declined and returned to civilian life in 1953. Dan was justifiably proud of his service to our Country and happily reconnected with members of his USMC Company later in life.
He then pursued his college education at Fordham University, at night, and worked a variety of jobs during the day to earn his way – including a short stint as a New York City beat cop and loading trucks for the New York Times. Dan married the love of his life, Marie, in 1956 at Church of the Good Shepherd and they began life as a young couple living on West 211th Street in Inwood. His life-long devotion, love and care for Marie was unwavering and truly inspirational and spanned 55 years of marriage until her death in 2011. They traveled around, often driving hundreds or thousands of miles together to visit friends and relatives in Michigan or vacationing in Florida — now that’s true love!
Dan’s professional life formally began when he joined Corning Glass after earning his Bachelor’s degree and was then recruited by the Dow Chemical Company where he remained for the entirety of his career. Dan understood that his Fordham degree was the key to his future and a better life for his family. He instilled these same values and aspirations in his children and was immensely proud of the fact that all of his children earned college degrees and found career fulfillment and independence. In his later years he loved to hear stories of his grandchildren’s academic successes. His tenure at Dow spanned over 30 years selling bulk chemicals all over the Northeast and Midwest US. Dan’s industriousness, friendly demeanor and unrelenting focus on customers earned him numerous promotions, accolades and professional recognition. He retired in 1990 and remained close to many of his Dow “buddies” who became life-long friends.
Dan’s life-long fascination for all living things began in 1964 when he moved Marie and his 4 young children to a new home that he designed and mostly constructed with his own hands, on Wallace Pond in Peekskill, NY. It was here where he taught his children how to swim and fish in the summer and ice-skate in the winter. And it was here, in this rural place, where he became transfixed and a passionate, life-long observer of the ever-changing flora and fauna through his always-handy binoculars. In his later years, having retired with Marie to a tranquil setting on Walker Pond in Sturbridge, he would spend hours out on the back deck patiently watching and waiting for the rare heron or trumpeter swan to pass. It was also here that he taught his grandchildren a healthy respect and appreciation for the water and spent many hours cruising around on his beloved “pontoon” boat.
Our Family wishes to express our deep gratitude for all of the wonderful care and support provided by the Overlook professionals. Their tireless efforts were certainly appreciated by Dan and Marie as well as our family and friends. Dan and Marie also leave many wonderful memories and experiences while enjoying their time at the Overlook community.
His funeral will be held on Saturday, Feb. 24, from the Daniel T. Morrill Funeral Home, 130 Hamilton St., Southbridge, with a Mass at 10 a.m. in St. Anne’s Church, 16 Church St., Fiskdale. Burial will follow in St. Anne’s Cemetery, Fiskdale. Calling hours in the funeral home will be held on Friday, Feb. 23, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Anne & St. Patrick Parish, 16 Church St., Fiskdale, MA 01518.