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Denis's Story

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MOUNT VISION - Denis Michael Hennessy, 79, died peacefully on Nov. 24, 2017, surrounded by his family at St. Luke's Hospital in Utica.
Denis was born to George and Sophie (Russell) Hennessy on June 9, 1938, in Queens. He had two older brothers, George and James "Babe."
At Richmond Hill High School he was a catcher on the baseball team and graduated as valedictorian.
He went on to graduate from St. John's University (BA in English) and SUNY Oneonta (MA in Irish Literature.)
He started his teaching career at Long Island schools, and moved to educational publishing, creating and promoting programs for inner-city schools. In 1976, he returned to teaching in Upstate New York, where he taught English. He was also an adjunct lecturer at SUNY Oneonta. He published articles on Lady Gregory, Russell Banks, TC Boyle, Tom Jones and Annie Proulx.
He received National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships to study James Joyce at Cornell University and William Faulkner at Ole Miss and had been recognized at SUNY Oneonta for his work on training student teachers.
He was well-known as "Mr. Hennessy" and rarely went out without running into an ex-student happy to catch up. He loved to read, write and teach novels and stories by Irish and Irish-American writers. He coached boxing at the Oneonta Boys and Girls Club and golf at Delaware Academy. His true love was his family.
He married Patricia Stefanak on July 2, 1960. They were blessed with four daughters, Mary Hennessy McCarthy, Margaret (Rich) Morrison, Erin (Bob) Dean and Patty (John) Dunn; and 10 grandchildren, Megan, Denis, Brendan, Ricky, Sophie (Tom), Addie, Shannon, Ryan, Patrick and Emily; and one great-granddaughter, Scarlett.
Memorial services will be private. The family invites friends to attend a mass or service at their own place of worship, in his memory. A celebration of Denis' life will be held at his home sometime next spring. Donations may be sent to the Oneonta Boys and Girls Club, 70 River St., Oneonta, NY, 13820.
Condolences to the family may be offered online at www.grummonsfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements are by the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home of Oneonta.
Published on November 27, 2017
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