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Pierce Kearney, 86, longtime Washingtonian

Published 8:52 pm, Wednesday, January 16, 2013

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  • Pierce Michael Kearney, 86, a longtime resident of Washington, died Jan. 11, 2013 at his home, Moongate. Pierce was born in 1926 in Mineola, N.Y. and grew up in Rockville Centre, N.Y. Photo: Contributed Photo
    Pierce Michael Kearney, 86, a longtime resident of Washington, died Jan. 11, 2013 at his home, Moongate. Pierce was born in 1926 in Mineola, N.Y. and grew up in Rockville Centre, N.Y. Photo: Contributed Photo

 

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Pierce Michael Kearney, 86, a longtime resident of Washington, died Jan. 11 at his home, Moongate.

Mr. Kearney was born in Mineola, N.Y., in 1926 and grew up in Rockville Centre, N.Y.

He attended Portsmouth Abbey School in Rhode Island. After graduating in 1944, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, where he served in the Pacific aboard the USS Wm. Weigel.

Upon his discharge, Mr. Kearney attended Brown University and graduated in 1950. At Brown, he played on the varsity baseball team and was a member of Alpha Delta Phi. He was an English major and was the sports editor of the Liber Brunens.

After college, Mr. Kearney joined his father's homebuilding business, E.T. Kearney & Sons. With his father and younger brother, David, he built homes throughout Nassau County, N.Y.

In 1954, he met Grail Walsh, whom he married in New York City on Jan. 15, 1955. Their first child, Meg, was born in December of that year. Over the next 10 years, seven more children were born.

Mr. and Mrs. Kearney, lifelong travel enthusiasts, loved to explore the world and frequently brought their growing tribe along with them. The tragic death of Meg in 1959 spurred the couple to build a home in a more rural setting. Many weekends were spent exploring possibilities, but ultimately it was the town of Washington that provided the ideal setting.

Mr. Kearney built Moongate on the crest of a hill in the former cow pasture of the old Mitchell dairy farm. In July 1967, he and the family moved to Moongate.

Mr. Kearney loved the New York Giants, the Yankees, golf, travel, gardening, listening to sports radio, more golf, Bermuda and opera. He was completely committed to supporting his children in both their educations and their varied interests.

In 1977, Mr. and Mrs. Kearney bought a house in Nantucket which, over the years, was to become the center of countless family vacations and gatherings. In 2005, the couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, surrounded by their many children and grandchildren.

Over the next few years, the couple endured increasing health challenges. They continued to live in their home, thanks to many people -- Pam, Kate, Delcia, Alison, Mannix, Bernie, Jackie, David, Mary Ann, Roderick, Robin, and Nancy, and especially their daughter, Ann, who was instrumental in managing her parents' lives in their final years.

In 2010, after a long illness, Mrs. Kearney died at home.

Mr. Kearney is survived by seven children, Mara, Grail, Ann, Susanna, Pierce, Alexander and Nicholas; nine grandchildren and his three brothers, Allan (Dom Damian, O.S.B.), David and Andrew Kearney.

A funeral Mass will take place today (Friday) at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Church, Route 47, Washington.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Washington Ambulance Association, P.O. Box 294, Washington Depot CT 06794.