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Rosemary Denne, 90, of Duquesne loved children, including 6 of her own

July 1, 2018

Every morning in cold weather, when the six Denne children were preparing for school, they could count on two things: a hot cup of freshly poured tea and warm clothes having been set on the radiator by their mother, Rosemary.

“She’d carry her teapot upstairs and have tea for everyone first thing in the morning,” said her daughter, Rosie Dubyak of Pleasant Hills. “She believed the best in everybody and looked for the best in them.”

Rosemary A. (Curran) Denne died Wednesday, June 27, 2018, of complications from a bowel obstruction. She was 90.

Mrs. Denne was born April 13, 1928, daughter of the late Dr. Thomas and Ann (Malone) Curran. As a young girl, her family moved from McKeesport to Duquesne, where she resided in the same home for 83 of her 90 years.

She met her husband, the late Carl R. “Buck” Denne, when both were attending grade school at St. Joseph’s in Duquesne.

“By eighth grade, they were walking home from school together,” Dubyak said.

The couple married Nov. 23, 1950, and raised a family of six children.

Mrs. Denne’s daughter Sharon Beal, 57, of Forward Township, said her mother never raised her voice at her children.

“It’s almost unbelievable, but we never had a cross word between us,” Beal said. “Unconditional love was the name of her game.”

It likely wasn’t easy, according to her eldest son, Tom Denne, 66, of Keyser, W.Va.

“If you can picture: her father, she and her husband, and me and some of my siblings, all living in a two-bedroom house with an unfinished attic,” Denne said. “People might think that was a rough way to grow up, but we didn’t think so, and that was very much due to her.”

Mrs. Denne was a homemaker but also a certified tax collector. She took over as treasurer for the City of Duquesne after her husband died in 2002, working for 12 years and retiring at the age of 88.

In recent years, she made weekly trips to Duquesne Elementary School to read to children in Cindi Gedman’s kindergarten class.

“I was friends with her daughter Sharon since we were 5 years old,” Gedman said. “She developed relationships with every one of my students. She asked what they were going to be for Halloween, or what they wanted for Christmas. ... She noticed if they got a haircut.”

In fact, Gedman had to make sure that every student had a chance to sit at Mrs. Denne’s desk, “or else there was some moaning,” she said.

Dubyak said her mother couldn’t wait to spend time with Gedman’s kindergartners.

“For all the holidays, she’d take a craft in and do a crafting project with them,” she said. “That’s what she lived for.”

A member of St. Joseph Church in Duquesne, Mrs. Denne’s faith was a huge part of her life.

“I’ve known her all my life,” said the Rev. John McKenna of St. Januarius Church in Plum, who grew in Duquesne. “She loved her church, and she understood that it’s so much more than the walls of the church building. It extended to her family in a very loving way.”

Her granddaughter, Becky Lucas, agreed.

“She was a pillar of strength, a constant optimist no matter what life threw at her, a true example of a faithful and God-loving woman and loved by so many,” Lucas wrote in a Facebook post.

Mrs. Denne is survived by her children, Dr. Tom C. (Mary Jane) Denne, of Keyser, W.Va.; Mame (Thomas) Donohue, of Jefferson Hills; Rosie (Andy) Dubyak, of Pleasant Hills; Joseph Denne, of Akron, Ohio; Sharon (Tim) Beal, of Forward Township; and Carla (Dave) Tomas, of North Huntingdon; her grandchildren, Monica (Pete) Spence, Luke (Kirsten) Denne, Dr. Nick (Erin) Denne, Capt. Timothy (fiancee, Dr. Laura Duling) Donohue, Maura Donohue, Patrick Donohue, Meghan (fiance, Lt. Nick Grace) Donohue, Dan (Melissa) Dubyak, Kevin (Stephanie) Dubyak, Becky (Mark) Lucas, Tim Beal Jr., Adam Tomas, and Maria Tomas; 16 great-grandchildren; and her brothers, Thomas (Elena) Curran, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and the late Lawrence Curran (surviving spouse, Angela Villaman-Curran); and nieces and nephews.

Family and friends will be welcomed from noon to 8 p.m. today, Sunday, at Maloy-Schleifer Funeral Home, 915 Kennedy Ave. in Duquesne. A 9:30 a.m. memorial service will be held Monday at the funeral home, with a 10 a.m. funeral at Holy Name Church of Christ the Light of the World Parish in Duquesne.

Interment will follow at St. Joseph Cemetery in West Mifflin.

Memorial contributions can be made in the form of school supplies for Duquesne Elementary School students.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, pvarine@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.