Denis James Leary, 63, of New Haven, CT, died peacefully with family by his side on March 4, 2017, after a brief illness, in Mount Dora, FL. He previously resided in Wallingford, CT and Port St. Lucie, FL. Denis was born on September 27, 1953 in Brockton, MA to Mildred McLaughlin and Edward Leary and raised by his step father Gennaro Punzo in New Haven, CT. He is survived by his sister Molly Punzo of Mount Dora, FL, and brothers Frank Punzo of Haddam, CT, and Edward Leary of Port St. Lucie, FL.
He graduated from the University of CT in 1975 with a BA degree in Political Science. His expertise was in English as a Second Language, Business, Management and Education Leadership. He was a graduate student in education and worked as assistant to the University of Connecticut Vice-President, administering scholarship programs and teaching business. During his life Denis taught U.S. History and held licenses in the areas of real estate, finance, education and transportation. He was also a licensed automotive dealer, general manager and building contractor.
Denis spent the last 7 years living in Beijing, China working as an English teacher and mentor for Chinese students and businesses. He was very proud of his work over these years. He did his utmost to not only teach English to professionals and young people in China, but also mentored them in American history and “all ways American.” He often said he acted as an American Ambassador to China. He was immensely patriotic and treasured American values. He felt dutybound to represent America in a superlative manner. His students cherished his mentoring, evidenced by the many accolades received. It gave him much joy having placed many Chinese students in schools and businesses here and around the world. He will be dearly missed by all those whose lives he touched.
A memorial service will be held in Wallingford, CT on May 5th, 2017 at the Holy Trinity Church with a reception to follow at Leon’s Restaurant at 344 Washington Ave, North Haven CT. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Denis Leary’s life. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Cornerstone Hospice at 2445 Lane Park Rd, Tavares, FL 32778. The family would like to thank Cornerstone Hospice for the exceptional care and compassion.