HENNESSY, The Honorable Francis Xavier
The Honorable Francis Xavier Hennessy, devoted husband, loving father, doting grandfather and gifted jurist, passed from this life on Tuesday, (January 15, 2013). He was 82. Judge Hennessy began his judicial service when he was appointed as a Judge of the Juvenile Court by then governor Ella Grasso in 1976. Through his judicial career he served as the first Administrative Judge of the combined Family and Juvenile Division of the Superior Court, served on the Appellate Session of the Superior Court, authored numerous opinions sitting by invitation on the Connecticut Supreme Court and served as Deputy Chief Court Administrator. He was elevated to the Appellate Court in 1994 and retired from the court in 2000. He continued his service as an Appellate Trial Referee until his death. Judge Hennessy was a strong advocate for equal access to the courts for women and minorities, co-chairing the Connecticut Task Force on Gender Justice and the Courts, and Connecticut's Task Force on Minority Fairness. He was also recognized as a national leader in Juvenile Justice Reform, emphasizing rehabilitation over punishment for juvenile offenders. In addition to his legal career, Judge Hennessy served his country with bravery in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He received the Purple Heart and Combat Infantryman's Badge. He also served on the National Board of Directors of the American Heart Association, the Connecticut's State Library Board, on the Sheriff's Advisory Board, and the State Gaming Commission. While in the private practice of law, Hennessy served as Democratic Town Chairman of Windsor and was an advisor to a number of statewide political campaigns including the gubernatorial campaigns of Emilio "Mim" Daddario and Ella Grasso. Judge Hennessy leaves behind his wife of fifty-five years Mary Frances (Callery) Hennessy, his daughter Maura Hennessy Shaw and her husband Steve Shaw of Washington D.C., son, Mark Hennessy of West Hartford, son Matthew Hennessy and his wife Barbara of Hartford, and daughter Margaret Mary Hennessy Knight and her husband Tom Knight of Washington D.C. He also leaves behind his grandchildren John Knight, Grace Hennessy, Teddy Knight, Finian Knight, Cormac Knight, and Patrick Hennessy. Judge Hennessy was born on September 11, 1930, in New York City. He began his working career as a member of the Pipe Coverers Union, later graduated from Fordham University under the G.I. Bill and received his law degree from the University of Connecticut.
Calling hours will be from 4-8 p.m. Friday, January 18, 2013 at the Molloy Funeral Home, 906 Farmington Ave., West Hartford and a Mass of Christian Burial will be held at the Church of St. Timothy, 1116 N. Main St., West Hartford at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 19, 2013. Entombment will follow in Mt. St. Benedict Cemetery, Bloomfield. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Timothy Middle School, 225 King Philip Drive, West Hartford, CT 06117 or Lawyers for Children America, 151 Farmington Avenue, RW61 Hartford, CT 06156-3124. Directions and online expressions of sympathy may be made at www.molloyfuneralhome.com.