Irish Heritage Award

2017 Heritage Award Recipients
Dennis Francis Ryan and Brendan Sammon

Dennis Francis Ryan
Dennis “Denny” Ryan was born August 17, 1943 to William [Nibsy] and Florence [Flo] Ryan. He was the second of five sons: Bill [also Nibsy], Robert [Bo], Thomas [Father Tom] and Gary.  The family moved from Tompkins St. to N. Lowell when Denny was 9 years old, just around the corner from his father Nibsy’s saloon and next door to St. Patrick’s rectory.
Growing up, Flo and Nibsy taught him the importance of hard work and hospitality. Monsignor Driscoll called upon Denny an Bill, as the older Ryan boys, to shovel the rectory’s walks, cut the grass, and help with other chores.  He attended mass every Sunday with the family. He sang in the Church Choir and attended St. Pat’s through high school.
Denny was baptized and received all his sacraments at St. Pat’s except for his marriage to Susan Larkin on October 1, 1966 at Blessed Sacrament in Eastwood.  Together they raised three children, Kevin [Deborah], Jeffrey [Carrie] and Kimberly [Chris] Urban.  Their children gave them 7 wonderful grandchildren who have been such joy in their lives.
Following his father’s advice, Denny avoided the bar business and instead worked at The Post Standard as a printer and 30 years for Niagara Mohawk [NiMo] as a substation electrical foreman until his retirement in 2000.  Denny loved working at NiMo and often presented concerns to management on behalf of his fellow co-workers.
After NiMo, Denny transitioned to doing electrical work for family members, neighbors, friends and “friends of friends.”  He rarely refused anyone who needed his help.  He drove family, neighbors, and friends to doctor visits, the grocery store, and the airport.  He did errands for those who were unable to do them for themselves.  He and his brother Nibsy became Father Tom’s caretakers, keeping a watchful eye on the family home, doing repairs, cutting the lawn, and so forth.
Denny was a continuous fixture on the properties of St. Patrick’s, assisting often with electrical and other necessary repairs and renovations.  The new light on the steeple of St. Patrick’s Church was installed by Denny and his brother, Bill.  It is a small but powerful reminder of the light of the Risen Christ and Denny’s new life in heaven.

 Denny loved his family, St. Patrick’s, Tipp Hill and connecting with and helping others.  Denny died on July 5, 2016.  We hold his memories in our hearts forever.

 Brendan Sammon

We congratulate Brendan Sammon (b.August 3rd, 1936) on receiving the St. Patrick’s Irish Festival Heritage Award. From a blink-of-an-eye small town nestled in the hollows between Roscommon Town and Knockcroghery: Home of the infamous “Ballymurray supper”, is where Brendan Sammon was born and raised. Flanked by his folks, five brothers, and his only sister, the Sammons nurtured a small farm and utilized odd jobs to make ends meet. Brendan was drawn to the saw, the hammer, and the nail at a young age, he would remain faithful to these implements for his entire life. They served him well. Coming from a country not exactly known for its hardwoods and native lumber, he set out for an adventure. It began by crossing the Atlantic, and after a brief stint in New England, Brendan, eventually put down his roots in
Central New York.  

There on ‘Tipperary Hill’, he inevitably met his Tipperary lass, Mary McCarthy, the love of his life, whom he would wed at the cornerstone of the neighborhood and his bride’s alma mater; St. Patrick’s. A new journey began: They moved “out to the suburbs” of Westvale where they undertook raising their five sons. Pining for some elbow room and longing for the splendor of the rolling farm fields of their own youth, they took on a “fixer upper” in Marcellus that had the picturesque setting they envisioned. The eleven grandchildren that followed also appreciate the open air and the lush green landscape of their grandparent’s ‘dreams’. 

Yet, even though there were places of worship closer to home, Brendan and Mary were constantly drawn to the large oak doors of St. Patrick’s church, evident in the baptisms, weddings, and funerals that the family assembled for within those hallowed walls. Brendan always has and continues to lend his professional skills and talents to projects over in the church rectory, or setting up and taking down Irish Festival amenities, as a way of giving thanks to the institution that has given so much to him and his family.

Past recipients of the Award