Obituary of Denis Delaney
Denis Delaney departed 12:55 p.m. 26 June 2023 on a first class, one way ticket to heaven on Aer Angel Wings and joined his sister Maureen and brothers Gerard and John Anthony
He will be greatly missed by his survivors son Roland (Philippines) sisters Anne Delaney (London) and Colette Smyth (Dublin).
Nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews, neighbours and world friends.
Denis was born on 16 February 1932 to parents Annie and Denis, and shared his home in Derragooney Roscrea County, Tipperary with his sisters Maureen, Colette and Annie with brothers Gerard and John Anthony.
Denis trained as a nurse in Whipps Cross Hospital in London and then worked in Palmerstown Hospital in Dublin. Holidays to Europe whetted his appetite for better weather, and so he followed the setting sun west, settling in California in the mid 1970s. Upon arrival in the USA, he worked as a private healthcare assistant with storied legends, including Jack Warner – where one out of hand party in Palm Springs resulted in him partaking in an FBI interview.
But it was Kitty Pillsbury with whom he worked longest, and forged a great friendship well beyond client/nurse. Both early risers, they’d be first in line at breakfast buffets like “two begging asses” waiting on their coffee. They travelled the world; on Concorde, the QEII, racking up more air miles than Richard Branson on a test flight. A stop at the US Embassy in the Far East was required at one stage to have pages added to his passport, he had run out of space for stamps! He returned to Ireland as often as possible, introducing his bemused family to delicacies such as iced tea, that had us doubting that he was still an Irishman at all, but a love of bacon, cabbage and spuds as his favourite dinner restored faith that you could take the man out of the country, but not the country out of the man.
Denis loved animals, even when a family member’s pet rabbit nibbled custom couture on the hem of his favourite Harrods suit. Nicky, Froggie and Suzie were all rescue dogs who truly landed on their paws with him, he treated like kings and queens.
He never met a bargain he didn’t love, and marvelled at man’s willingness to pay for water in a bottle. He loved whiskey on ice and a glass of “two buck Chuck” every evening at 5 while watching the news headlines (way ahead of his time in pairing alcohol with news bulletins, a bottle would be recommended these days, never mind a glass). While he believed in saving the pennies and selecting from yesterday’s bake, he was beyond generous to his family, sharing more than a “few pence”. He delighted in showing family around Santa Barbara, which he described as paradise, and had his home kept a visitors log, the pages would have been crowded.
A lifelong keep fit enthusiast, he put the rest of the family to shame with his daily regimen of swimming, gym and cycling – well into his eighties. His tried and tested vitamin regimen left us wondering if he’d rattle as he walked by, but it served him well and no mind was sharper or memory more accurate – there must be something to be said for the zinc and fish oil combo.
He loved good food and had a voracious appetite. Even in his 90s, still checked the dessert menu first at dinner each evening. Fruitcake was beloved, as was ice cream. He was especially partial to Cadbury’s Dairy Milk and with characteristic discipline, could eat one square per day, much to the torment of those who eyed up the remainder.
His rituals were sacrosanct, from tidying his “shed” each morning, to making oatmeal for the next day immediately after consuming that days portion. On holiday in Ireland, he kept up his daily swim, with visits to Ballymun pool, he was most likely still the most tanned ever to have graced that swimming abode.
Denis loved people, their stories, and where they were from. He was never too shy to converse with strangers – he was charismatic conversationalist and so those he met would end up divulging life stories to their new confidante without even realising it. He might have rubbed shoulders with Hollywood studio executives and even the future King of England, but it was everyday people he met who intrigued him most. His communication methods kept up with the march of advances in technology and he embraced using Skype and email to keep in touch with family and friend around the globe.
Denis was determined to live to 100 but a diagnosis of Parkinson’s got in the way of his plans. He was well cared for by his niece Catherine Hanson and her family, husband Chris and son Liam (Solvang), and he reluctantly cashed in his first class ticket.
Stubborn to the last, he was pronounced three times before finally heading away to wheedle a few tales out of St. Peter and borrow his keys.
“There will never be another like him”, surely must be one of the highest compliments to be paid to a soul after their passing and most certainly applies to him.
Donations in his name may be made to Save the Children Foundation: www.savethechildren.comTo send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Denis Delaney, please visit Tribute Store