Feb. 20, 1939 – Nov. 24, 2017
In the late 1950s, while working at a service station in Niagara Falls, Thomas “Tucker” Hennegan met Dorothy Safarian when she and her aunt drove in with a car full of cocker spaniel puppies.
“The first thing she noticed about my father was his blue eyes through the windshield,” said his daughter, Shannon DiPietro.
He paid her $10 for a puppy for his mother. They were married in 1961, and for years later joked that he had kept paying ever since.
Mr. Hennegan died Friday in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center after a short illness. He was 78.
Born in Niagara Falls, the second of eight children in a tightly-knit family, he was a graduate of Trott Vocational High School and served in the Army Reserve in Georgia.
Mr. Hennegan worked in maintenance at Goodyear in Niagara Falls from 1959 to 1961, then joined the apprenticeship program at Local 237, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
He worked on the Somerset Power Project, was a shop steward on construction sites and was a former member of the Electrical Review Board for the City of Niagara Falls.. He retired in 1997.
A Corvette owner in his youth and again in retirement, he had a passion for fast cars and motorcycles. He was a frequent winner in a NASCAR fantasy pool among friends and for the past three years had worn their honorary Championship Ring.
Generous with his time, he enjoyed helping friends with construction projects, working on cars and talking about world affairs.
“He was the first to volunteer to help, no matter how hard the job,” his daughter said. “During the Blizzard of ‘77, he and his friends drove Skidoos to and from the local hospitals for several days to pick up medications to bring people who were trapped by the blizzard.”
An avid boater and former owner of a 34-foot Carver, he was a member of the Niagara River Yacht Club for more than 20 years.
Characterized by his daughter as “tough, but fair,” he served as a surrogate father to several boys in his LaSalle neighborhood.
He also was a parishioner at Prince of Peace Catholic Church and St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church and a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.
He and his wife, a retired make-up artist at AM&A’s and Bon Ton in the Summit Park Mall, traveled to China, Thailand, France, Italy and Ireland, where he is pictured with one of his favorite pleasures, a pint of Guinness Stout, in the Brazen Head, the oldest pub in Dublin.
Survivors also include two sons, Sean and Patrick; another daughter, Laureen Jacobs; a brother, Michael; three sisters, Maureen Welch, Rosemary O’Gray and Mary Guidotti; and six grandchildren.
A memorial Mass will be offered at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 29 in St. Vincent De Paul Parish, 1055 N. Military Road, Niagara Falls.