Father John F. Denehy Served Island Parishes

The Rev. Monsignor John F. Denehy, 84, of Satellite Beach, Fla., died on August 22, 2003.

Father John, as he preferred to be called, was born in Fall River on June 21, 1919. He attended St. Patrick's School, Fall River; Coule High School, Taunton and Holy Cross College, Worcester. He attended St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore and Theological College, Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C. He did post-graduate work in economics, labor relations, political science and sociology at Catholic University where he received his MA and LST degrees.

Following ordination to the priesthood in St. Mary's Cathedral, Fall River, on Sept. 22, 1945, he served as assistant pastor at St. Mary's Church, Nantucket and then in Martha's Vineyard at Sacred Heart, Oak Bluffs; St. Elizabeth's, Edgartown and St. Augustine's in Vineyard Haven.

In November 1950, Father John volunteered to serve as a chaplain in the United States Air Force and served with great distinction until his retirement from Patrick Air Force Base, Florida in 1977. Among his Air Force assignments were: Selfridge AFB, Mich.; Lockbourne AFB, Ohio; Travis AFB, Calif.; Otis AFB; McGuire AFB, N.J.; and Maxwell AFB, Ala. His overseas tours included assignments in Germany, Japan, Bermuda and Spain where he lived with his late mother. He also served a four-year tour in the Office, Chief of Air Force Chaplains in Washington D.C., and a three-year tour as Commandant, Air Force Chaplain School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

In 1964, Pope Paul VI honored him as a domestic prelate.

Among his military honors, in addition to promotion to the rank of colonel, he received numerous awards and decorations including the Air Force Commendation Medal with one cluster, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with one cluster, the Army of Occupation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Legion of Merit with two clusters.

A mass of Christian burial was celebrated on August 28 at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Indiatlantic, Fla. While on Martha's Vineyard, Father Denehy made many friends both in his churches and the entire community.