In Memory of




Obituary for Maryellen F. Denning

Maryellen F. (Hayes) Denning of Wellesley, Massachusetts passed away peacefully July 21, 2022 after a long, valiant battle with illness.

Beloved wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, aunt, cousin and friend to many, Maryellen was surrounded by family and many of her loved ones during her final moments, holding hands with Dick, as they had for nearly six decades.

Maryellen is survived by her loving family—her husband (of 56 years), Dick; her sons, Michael, Ed, Marty, and Brian; her son-in-law, Cliff, and daughters-in-law Emily, Diane and Katy; her grandchildren Hannah, Patrick, Andrew, Ryan, Hayes, Gavin and Leah; her brothers-in-law Edward and Marty; her sister-in-law, Susan; and her nieces, Cathy Hoose, Maura Denning and Lisa Mulvaney; and loving grandnieces and grandnephew. The only child of the (late) Edward and Margaret Hayes, Maryellen (born in 1943) was raised in St. Catherine of Genoa Parish in Somerville. She was a graduate of St. Mary’s High School and Emmanuel College.

Family, friends, and church community: these were Maryellen’s great loves; they were the pillars upon which she built her life’s work.

Raising four sons—Michael, Ed, Marty, and Brian—brought Maryellen tremendous joy. She was tireless in her work to build a loving home where everyone was always welcome. Maryellen was the cornerstone of her family, hosting gatherings for every holiday; and always making sure everyone had a place to go and to celebrate. Her happiness came from reaching-out and helping others.

Along with family and friends, Maryellen’s work for her beloved St. John’s community was the third part of her life’s holy trinity. Over many decades, she served St. John the Evangelist Parish as Director of the Rites of Christian Initiation (RCIA) program; teacher and director of religious education programs; a member of the Parish Council and St. John’s School Board; Co-Chair of the Renovation Capital Campaign; and member of the Wellesley Interfaith Council.

More than anything, Maryellen loved and appreciated the little pleasures that life could offer: her garden; coffee and conversation with friends and family; sleeping in; vacations at Cape Cod and Sunday River with her children and their friends. And in later years, she loved “Grammy Days” with her beloved grandchildren.

Maryellen was a profile in courage as she courageously dealt with numerous health challenges over many years. Her family offers special thanks to many doctors and healthcare providers who cared for her with skill and affection. And in the last few years, Maryellen’s life was enormously enriched by the care and love offered by her wonderful friends and aides, and especially the women from Celtic Hands Home Care.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday, July 28, 2022 at 11AM in St. John the Evangelist Parish, 9 Glen Rd. Wellesley. Visiting hours will be Wednesday, July 27th from 4-7PM in the Henry J. Burke & Sons Funeral Home, 56 Washington St. Wellesley.

Gifts in Maryellen’s memory can be made to Emmanuel College Scholarship Fund, 400 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02115.