Brendan John McGuirk, 63, of Waterford, died Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014, after a long battle with cancer. He was the beloved husband of Marianna (Gaynor) McGuirk.
He was born Sept. 24, 1950, in New London, the fourth child to John J. and Therese (Sheehan) McGuirk. He graduated from Norwich Tech, where he concentrated in carpentry.
Brendan was very proud to have served in the U.S. Navy during the early 1970s, primarily aboard the diesel electric submarine USS Trumpetfish SS425. He was deployed once around South America, four times to the Caribbean, and to multiple European ports. He received a letter of commendation from Vice Admiral Long for his outstanding performance while serving as topside petty officer during the Unitas XII Deployment. He was honorably discharged as a second class torpedoman (SS) qualified in submarines.
Following his Navy service, Brendan went on to serve in the New London Fire Department for nearly 40 years. Brendan truly loved the job and his fire fighting brothers and his Navy brothers. He was a dedicated member of Local #1522 and the IAFF. Brendan was a mentor to numerous fire fighters, and one of his fondest memories was delivering a baby on the job. He was a life member of three volunteer fire stations, Jordan and Cohanzie in Waterford and Northwest Hose Company #7 in New London. Brendan received numerous fire fighting awards and was a past New London Fire Fighter of the Year. He was awarded the Public Spirited Citizen Award by the New London City Council and the Herbert L. Emanuelson Award by the Department of Connecticut American Legion for his rescue of an unconscious man from a burning building on Bank Street in New London. He used his fire fighting EMT training to work part time at the Millstone and Connecticut Yankee power plants.
For almost 40 years he was a member of Local #1411 of the International Longshoremen Association, working part time as a crane operator and safety officer at State Pier, another job he enjoyed. He was a member of American Legion Post #9 in New London and was a longtime member of the Elks in New London and the recipient of Elks Lodge #360 Public Safety Appreciation Award. For the past 20 years, he served Waterford as a Democratic member of the RTM, serving the first district, and was chosen Waterford’s 2013 Citizen of the Year.
Brendan enjoyed taking trips with Marianna, Gemma, and Johnny to both local areas and places like Lake Champlain, Pennsylvania, and Florida. They also enjoyed camping with their camping club. In recent years, he tremendously enjoyed following the lives and sports careers of his grandchildren, Mia, Jay Jay, and Skylar. He enjoyed reading the daily newspapers and was an avid history buff. Brendan was a regular parishioner at St. Joseph Catholic Church and was devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Brendan believed strongly in the cause of organ donation.
The basic theme of Brendan’s life was helping others – his family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and town – and while doing so, was joined by his best friend, wife and love, Marianna.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by children, Gemma Brennan and her fiance,Javier Rosado, and John Brennan and his fiance, Beth Crowley, of Waterford; and the grandchildren he adored, Mia, Jay Jay, Skylar, Michael, and Carmen. He is also survived by brothers, John of Branford and his wife, Cathy, Stephen of Orange and his wife, Mary Sue, Peter of Waterford and his wife, Anna; and sisters, Therese of New London, and Frances of Canterbury and her husband, Steve Pelletier. After marrying the love of his life, Marianna, he gained a new family, Rod and Carole Gaynor of Waterford and Dan and Happy Gaynor of New London. He is survived by many nieces and nephews.
The family would like to extend their deepest gratitude to those who supported them through their many kindnesses over these last two years. Thank you to Dr. Melvin Yoselevsky, his staff, and his wife, Iris, Dr. Richard Hellman and the staff at the Lawrence + Memorial Cancer Center, Dr. Terrence Navin and his staff at the Wound Center, and the team of doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, especially Dr. Tanvir Choudhri, who performed multiple surgeries. The family thanks Dr. Myron Schwartz who gave him a second chance at life in October of 2004, when he performed his liver transplant, allowing him more time with his beloved family. Thank you to the Transplant Living Center (TLC) family who journeyed with Brendan’s family every step of the way. Our motto is “Don’t take your organs to Heaven because Heaven knows we need them here on Earth!”
Also, the family sends a special thank you to Jackie and Sandra from the VNA, the team of hospice, Mayor Finizio and Fire Chief Henry Kydd for their support, and the City of New London employees who donated meaningfully to Brendan during this difficult time. A heartfelt thank you to the brotherhood of firefighters who Brendan loved very much
His family will receive relatives and friends from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday at the Impellitteri-Malia Funeral Home, 84 Montauk Ave., New London. The funeral will assemble at 10 a.m. on Wednesday and proceed to a Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. in St. Joseph Church. Interment with military honors will be in St. Mary Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Brendan McGuirk Educational Fund for his grandchildren through Chelsea Groton Bank, 157 Boston Post Road, Waterford, CT 06385.