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Justine R. (Rzewnicki) Dennis

September 26, 1925 ~ August 3, 2021 (age 95)

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Southport- Justine R. Dennis, 95, passed away peacefully Tuesday, August 3, 2021.  She was the beloved wife of the late Thomas R. Dennis.

        Mrs. Dennis was born in Torrington on September 26, 1925, daughter of the late Romuald and Genevieve (Kawiecki) Rzewnicki.  She attended Torrington schools, graduating from Torrington High School as the Valedictorian of the class of 1943.  She then matriculated at the Bentley School of Accounting and Finance [now Bentley College] where she received her Business Associate’s Degree.  While at Bentley, Mrs. Dennis helped to establish the first women’s sorority, Delta Omega, and met the love of her life, Thomas Dennis. They married in 1947, residing in Quincy Massachusetts until Thomas’ untimely death in 1955, when Justine returned to her home town of Torrington with her two children, Thomas four, and Maureen two years of age.

        In gratitude for the assistance of the American Legion in helping her to negotiate the process of obtaining widow’s benefits from the Veterans Administration, she became a lifelong member of the American Legion Auxiliary, enrolling her daughter as a junior member at the age of five.  Teaching her daughter the importance of giving back, they annually appeared at the doors of the local factories selling poppies and performed other volunteer services to benefit the veterans of Connecticut. Mrs. Dennis rose through the Auxiliary ranks, and at one point served as the President of the Connecticut chapter.

        In the late 50’s, Mrs. Dennis returned to college part-time, first obtaining her BA from the University of Hartford, and later her MA from Central Connecticut State University.  She began to teach Accounting and Business Law at Torrington High School in 1962.  She was known as a strict, but caring teacher, always striving to prepare her students as professionals capable of dealing with the demands of the business environment.

         Always deeply religious, in 1986, when she retired from teaching, Mrs. Dennis and began to devote all of her free time volunteering at Birthright of Torrington, and for some years served as the volunteer Director of the local office.  Her contributions to Birthright included tutoring the clients in practical job skills, support and counseling during pregnancy and after birth, and fund raising, including the Mother’s Day Rose Sales on the local church steps after Masses, and the Father’s Day Baby Showers after Mass at Lourdes of Litchfield.  Her work with Birthright continued until she moved to Southport in 1999 to live with her daughter, Maureen.

        Survivors include her daughter, Judge Maureen Dennis and her husband, Raymond Kelly; her daughter-in law, Marie Dennis; four grandchildren, Genevieve Dennis Hoover, Colin Dennis Kelly, Gabrielle Dennis Bruguiere, and Daniel Thomas Dennis; and many nieces and nephews. Mrs. Dennis was predeceased by her son, Thomas Dennis.

        The family wishes to extend their special thanks to Robin Doherty, who provided wonderful care, comfort and companionship to Mrs. Dennis for so many years.

        Services and burial were held in New St. Francis Cemetery, Torrington. Gleeson-Ryan Funeral Home, 258 Prospect St., Torrington, is in care of arrangements.

        At the request of the family, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Birthright, 39 Center Street, Meriden, CT 06450

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Private Services

New St. Francis Cemetery, Torrington

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