Mary Elizabeth Denneny of Falmouth and formerly of Marstons Mills died peacefully on June 11th at the JML Care Center, where she had been a resident for seven years. She was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts in 1923, the daughter of Edward Denneny and Elizabeth Magdalen Denneny, née Cullen. She was a devout Catholic who had devoted much of her life to the church before entering the lay teaching world. Elizabeth held a Bachelor’s degree from Salve Regina College and a Masters from Boston College. Of her long teaching career, Elizabeth said with pride and gratitude, “I have been blessed to teach at two great schools, Bishop Feehan and Falmouth Academy.”
Elizabeth joined the faculty of Falmouth Academy in 1982 to teach Latin. But beyond the basics, Elizabeth’s dynamic approach to sharing her love of the Roman world led to overseeing individual students’ creative cultural projects. A highlight of each academic year was the Latin Banquet, in which students donned Roman costumes and prepared and shared foods that not only Caesar but the Roman gods would have enjoyed.
Former Head of School, Bruce Buxton, remembers Elizabeth as “an example of “DRV” or Daily Roman Virtue, meeting each day without excuses and doing the necessary as it presented itself.” He went on to explain, “She was unafraid to meet the expectations of a demanding Falmouth Academy community, ready to take on whatever needed doing in the small fledgling school she joined and grew with.” During her tenure at Falmouth Academy Elizabeth also served as advisor to the National Honor Society and assisted in the school library, where she shared her love of reading with the students.
At home, Elizabeth shared her life with beloved pets, dogs and cats, and in her last years she welcomed visits from a friend’s Golden Retriever in her room at JML. Former Falmouth Academy colleagues continued to enjoy visiting her. Elizabeth was a joy to be with. She loved a good story, the beauty of language, and she especially loved the warmth of poetry. She loved nature, a toast to friends with a glass of wine, and the luxury of fine fabrics. She was feisty, funny, and Irish to the bone. And she always playfully remembered the second grade little boy who thanked her from “my bottom to my heart.” We thank you, Liz, for being you. There is music in your soul.
Thank you also to the fabulous staff at JML who have loved and appreciated Liz for seven years.
A funeral mass in honor of Mary Elizabeth Denneny was celebrated at Saint Patrick’s Church in Falmouth on Wednesday, June 17th. Gifts in Elizabeth’s memory may be made to Falmouth Academy, 7 Highfield Drive, Falmouth, MA 02540.