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.
Denis with Lisa and Ethan in front of Tomato cafe in Beijing.
Im Abdou, Denis' Friend, I'm sure denis told you about me.
Please accept my deepest condolences for your family's loss.
Words cannot even begin to express my sorrow.
I used to always call him" My Uncle" and " the Boss of the neighborhood", Denis was a very close friend to me during his stay in china, and we shared beautiful moments in China .
He was inspiring me by his wisdom, kindness and generosity with everyone. Everyone loved him so much.
A beautiful soul, full of love and faith, ascended to heaven, away from us, but closer to God, leaving loneliness and sadness.
We all gonna miss him.
I had the privilege of booking you flights home in January and prayed that you would get well once back in the States. I know Molly and Martin did everything in their power to make you well and were there with you every step of the way. I wish I had personally met you
My prayers are with you and your loved ones. May you rest in peace
A great photo from my baptism with my godparents. I love how Denis is looking lovingly at me.
I miss you Mr. Rocky. You ask me to call you Rocky, but I always call you big bendan. You are good man as you told me that your mom said when you are sleeping you are good boy.
Deepak and Donna
To the very end, you were witty and positive. You made me feel good when you yourself felt miserable. You made us all laugh. And most of all, you taught us how to face the end of life with bravery and calm. I thank you for all that you shared and will remember you as such a key part of growing up in the bevy of cousins in that old New Haven house. Moving on but not away. Keep us laughing...please.
Denis at the Great Wall
The Staudinger Family
Do let Molly know how things are going up there because you would scare the beJesus out of Eddie with your message. She will share with the rest of us..
Remember this? (PaulMudiachi)?
Never meant a thing at all but you and I got a big kick of how it confused others!!
Love you my little brother,
I am sorry I never got to know you but I followed your time in China through Molly. She loved you so much and was always talking about the things you were doing in China. You were much loved and I am glad that Martin and Molly were there for you during those difficult 6 weeks. They showed their love for you through their tender care.
Love from Martin's mom.
Denis as a child