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Diane Gallagher Brennan

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KNOWLTON -- Diane Gallagher Brennan, 65, of Columbia, died Sunday, June 30, 2013, at Morristown Medical Center following a long battle with lymphoma. She will be remembered as a loving wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, best of friend and confidant to many.

For 16 years, Diane served as Director of Development at Newton Memorial Hospital, where she oversaw fundraising efforts and co-founded a series of high-profile community events. During her many years as a Knowlton resident, she took on numberous leadership roles, including vice-chair of Warren County’s Democratic Party, an officer and long-time coach of Knowlton Athletic Association and a dedicated member of the volunteer rescue squad. Over the years, a number of organizations have honored Diane for her engagement in the community, such as the Sussex County Boy Scouts of America, which recognized her with its “Tribute to Women” award in 2012, and Knowlton Township, which named her “Citizen of the Year” in 1990.

A native of Bayonne, Diane attended Holy Family Academy before enrolling at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, where she was recognized for her academic achievements in the university’s “Who’s Who” directory, as well as her athletic accomplishments as a member of the school’s basketball and tennis Halls of Fame. Diane continued to play tennis regularly and refereed high school lacrosse and basketball games for more than 20 years.

Soon after graduation from Chestnut Hill, she married her husband of 38 years, Michael J. Brennan, relocated to northwestern New Jersey and raised three children. For many years, she worked at Blair Academy as the school’s purchasing director, before joining the staff at Newton Memorial in the mid 1990s. Her colleagues remember her as a dedicated and talented foundation professional who helped to raise the funds necessary to transform Newton Memorial Hospital into one of the area’s best healthcare centers.

Despite all of her professional success, Diane’s proudest accomplishment was always her family, which grew in the last several years to include five grandchildren, two sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. In addition to her husband, Michael, Diane is survived by her father, Cornelius Gallagher; three children, Michael Brennan II and wife, Abby, E. Courtnay Stanford and husband, Eamonn, and Bridget Hodakowski and husband, Marc; five grandchildren, Michael Brennan III and Ella Brennan, McKenna Stanford, Jack and Drew Hodakowski; three sisters, Christine Ranaghan Forte, Patrice Maillet and Bridget Davis; as well as countless nieces, nephews and friends who will miss Diane dearly but consider themselves incredibly fortunate to have known her. She was predeceased by her mother, Clarire Jane Richter.

At the request of the family donations may be made to two institutions near and dear to Diane’s heart: Newton Memorial Hospital Foundation, 175 High St., Newton, NJ 07860 and/or Blair Academy, P.O. Box 600, Blairstown, NJ 07825.

Visitation will be held 2 to 4 and 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, July 5, 2013, at Newbaker Funeral Home, 200 Route 94, Blairstown. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Jude R.C. Church, 7 Eisenhower Road, Blairstown. Interment will follow at the Marksboro Cemetery, 1028 Route 94, Frelinghuysen. For further information, please visit the website at

Funeral Home
Newbaker Funeral Home
200 Rte 94
Blairstown, NJ 07825
(908) 362-6341
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Published in The New Jersey Herald from July 3 to July 4, 2013
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