Mary Danahy and Claudine Raniolo
DescriptionClaudine, 43, interviews Mary, 43, about her late husband, Patrick Danahy. They speak about his life, especially one of being a father, his relationship with his children and record memories for his 3 daughters, one of who he never met.
Subject Log / Time Code
- Mary Danahy
- Claudine Raniolo
Recording LocationStoryCorps Lower Manhattan Booth
Venue / Recording Kit
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00:09 My name is Mary danehy. I'm 43 years old today is April 8th 2011. I'm in Foley Square in Manhattan, and I'm the wife of Patrick Dennehy.
00:21 My name is Claudine. Raniolo. I'm 43 years old today is April 8th 2011. I'm in New York City and I am Mary's best friend.
00:34 Mary would you like to talk about today? Patrick Dennehy my husband by what name did you refer to him?
00:42 Usually he was called Patrick or Pat by his friends.
00:49 You that I called and Patrick and Pat was more for his friends was more casual. And what was his relationship to he was my husband. We were married in 1989 or 93 how he would appreciate we met in the 89. We married in 93.
01:07 Tell me about Patrick.
01:14 Now going diverse kind of guy always up for any new challenge. He enjoyed mountain biking and motorcycling and anything that has to do with speed. He really enjoyed his Porsche riding that on the weekends. But you know, once he have kids he also found his niche in that being a dad. He was a great dad as well.
01:39 What did Patrick look like?
01:43 At one time like light brown hair then it was like no hair and beautiful blue eyes strong feature strong cheekbone and Chin he was very handsome. Very fit good-looking guy.
01:58 What did Patrick mean to you?
02:08 He he was my future. He was my life.
02:14 It was me yesterday is
02:19 Is my tomorrow's I meant everything to me.
02:25 What were Patrick's hopes and dreams for the future I think is
02:32 Hopes and dreams for the future where that is. He see his daughters grow up to be the beautiful ladies that they are.
02:41 I think everything revolves around at that point when he passed around his family.
02:46 And you know, he really dreamed of having this great life with the girls and with me and
02:53 Just really we were in a great place all around me and healthy kids had a great life. What was what was your life like at that time? How many kids did you have? We had two we had Allison who was
03:11 Ray since before and Katie was too and I was 8 months pregnant with Grace. There was a light of his life there were everything to him. He took him everywhere with him. He bathed him every night. He really really as much as he was into his Sports and things he really really loved his girls.
03:37 When was he most happy? He was most happy when he was with the girls.
03:47 Most happy when he was with the girls and you know able to share his interest with them and be a put it on put them on the back of the bike or taken for a ride in his Porsche or shown tricks you can do on his mountain bike. That was probably when he was most happiest when we were all together as a family.
04:07 What was his most defining characteristic?
04:10 I would say persistence. He was very persistent. He never gave up. You couldn't tell him that he couldn't do something. He loved a challenge. He's very dedicated and devoted whether he was in his friendships his marriage or his business life. He was pretty dedicated straight shooter. What you saw is what you got there were no besides or
04:33 Fronts that he put on for anybody.
04:37 What would you like? I'm Ali Katie and Gracie to know about Patrick. I want them to know that.
04:46 He really enjoy the simple things in life face was obviously the first priority really believed in God and felt very blessed and thankful to have all of us and everything. We had I want the girls to know that he was a spiritual man who thank God everyday for All His blessings and that he really appreciate his family, you know, his parents his siblings his friends and he took time out for the
05:17 The Finer Things in life, but also he always thank God for all the things he was given and I think that was one of his greatest attributes and I can say that he had no regrets when he died. He really had loved each day to the fullest and I told everybody and showed them that he loved us and he didn't need to say two thousand times. He showed us and everything that he always did.
05:42 What did people most loved about Patrick?
05:45 Things most people loved about him was that he was always up for an adventure always up for a challenge very competitive. She always knew you were in for a good time. But you know, if you were tired and worn-out you didn't want Pat to be coming in with a new idea where you were going or what you were doing. So, I think most people loved about him that he was always up for anything. He was game. He was in you could tell him it was a hundred mile bike race Eli come in where we need to go. So he was an all-around fun guy.
06:20 How do you think Patrick would want to be remembered I think is a great father. I think that was really important to him and it's a good friend and a good husband. I don't think he ever thought of himself as a role model. He really didn't care what other people thought. He just always knew to do what was right in his heart and being, you know being around the children coming home to us every night and spend some time with us was what was right, so I don't think Pat really cared much what other people thought about him, but now that he's gone. I think you know, he lived his life the way he should live it, you know, God and family and just
07:01 Giving thanks and respecting people.
07:06 What is your first memory of Patrick?
07:08 Pat and I met at my brother-in-law's bar and he was with his friends and my first memory of Patrick was that he was a liar again a little cocky but in Good Humor, I could not come back and he knew it and be I was introduced to him and his friends and it's at the end of the night Pat said so you going to call me his friend said how do you know she's going to call you and they all gave me his number and he said, oh, she'll call me and I did he was right, but you know, it was Pat down and he from the family of six good kid from Hastings. So that's how I ended up calling him.
07:44 What is your best memory of Patrick?
07:47 My best memory of Pat is him being with the girls every night coming home.
07:56 No free will trade it was a long commute. So I must you know an hour and 50 minutes and he would always line up these blocks for Grace Ali and he would make like a domino so she could hit it and he said them all back up. He would always base a girl's every night and he would need dinner to like 8:39 so he could get his time in before they went down.
08:22 And that's one of my best memories of Pat.
08:26 What is your most vivid memory of Patrick play one of my most Vivid memories of pad is when Allison are first born was born and they brought it to us and she had on the little Hospital onesie and she was wrapped in a blanket and he unwrapped her and he had to see every part of her he checked her toes and her legs and arms in her hands and then he held her up a just the way I have a picture in the way. He looked at her.
08:55 I knew his world had changed.
08:59 And I knew that his love that grown threefold. And that was the look he had when Katie was born. And I know he would have had one Gracie was born.
09:10 Where did Patrick grow up and Hastings? He was one of six three boys and three girls and two Hastings High School Siena College play baseball in high school and basketball, of course and you and Sienna had a great group of college friends that he meant that you know, I still am in touch with he studied a little for I think it's semester in London abroad and he had a great experience there. I'm a pothead lifelong friends from grammar school high school college that are still in touch with us. He really enjoyed living in Hastings on the water close to the city.
09:53 What's a Patrick like to do as a child trading up, you know swindling some child out of the better bike the better watch. It was a story where he like traded with Tommy Martin. His best friends like a broken bike for like his father's brand new watch and mrs. Martin came storming down and Patrick Dennehy. Give me back that watched in the bike had like flat tires and handlebars were like bent but he was always into stuff. I mean he was riding mini bikes being, you know getting in trouble don't tear into the neighbor's he lived actually in Wyoming for a couple years and learn to ride his mountain bikes and his mini bikes up there and that was it he took off but when he came back to Hastings it didn't
10:43 It takes a while because it wasn't as much Farmland. So he's always getting into trouble but good trouble clean trouble.
10:51 Howard Patrick's friends describe him
10:56 As a good time he
11:00 Very energetic and
11:06 Very outgoing and I really would get them on their competitive side. Even if they weren't competitive. He said come on. Let's go for a mountain bike in Worcester. Right and it would start like that and be who is let's see who can climb the mountain fastest. So I think they would describe him that that part but then that other piece of him was very very dedicated and he really would be there for you anytime you needed him. And you know again, he just he told you what he thought why they liked it or not, but he wasn't harsh or cruel and but he also didn't put on besides and he wasn't going to be one that welcomes you into a room and then turned his back and talked about you. If you know, he just didn't even get caught up in stuff like that. If you had something not nice to say he'd say to you and so I think they would really think of him as a very dedicated friend and I think it's a statement that they're all still around us most of them to the Stag.
11:57 Did Patrick have any special talents now? I mean, he was just very persistent me when we bought our house. He started he was like how I'm going to save money and started learning to do woodworking. I mean, we had a lot of kindling wood after that, but he really
12:12 Put his mind to it into his Testament. I mean, he really learned how to do things whenever he said he would read a book he would practice and I think that carried over in every aspect of his life.
12:25 This is always been true but still is today. What about whenever you speak of Patrick your face lights up when you smile so but what about Patrick makes you smile?
12:37 His with his some quick thinking his way that he always, you know, we could be all dressed and ready to go to a Chinese restaurant and it was like a don't feel like Italian no, no, no, no, no next thing. I know I'm sitting there eating spaghetti because he just had a way about him. I mean, we always joked you should have been a liar, but he he just had a really nice manners and about him and he never wanted to hurt anybody or be mean and he was very very very affectionate with his kids.
13:12 If you could talk to Patrick right now, what would you say?
13:19 I'd say you know the girls look really good. Don't they?
13:27 I would want him just to see the girls and see and share everything they've done since he's been gone and especially Gracie since she didn't know him and I would just want to spill out from the time. She was born till now everything she did and when she did it and the girls to all their compliments and how much we've all missed him.
13:48 Do you have a dream about Patrick?
13:50 I do but rare very very rarely, maybe one or two since he's been gone and I don't remember them in depth, but always he's kind of just giving me the okay that he's okay and
14:06 I'll be okay and the approval of what I've been doing with the girls or you know in my life today.
14:14 What are the hardest times?
14:17 Hardest times when the girls reach Milestones be it, you know Gracie walking rolling over at potty training, you know graduations from kindergarten plays and now they're older and horseback riding. It's all their compliments cuz every time they do something it's as joyful and happy I am for them. There's a sadness in my heart.
14:41 The Pat's not here to share it. He's partially responsible for it. And he always will be and it just makes me sad that he can't be there cheering them on as well.
14:53 Do you feel Patrick around you and the girls always always I always feel Pat. I believe that gives us his signs to let us know that he's there being an Eagles song which was his favorite group or just
15:11 You know, we'll hear somebody's name. That's Patrick Dorsey a car. That's something that he would drive and you know, we can't help but think of him and feel him around us.
15:24 Do you have any Traditions Donna Patrick, of course on the 11th and church every 11th and his birthday?
15:37 But I think it'll mostly our tradition is a my tradition is that I keep him alive in the house and I keep him I keep him present in the girls lives. So even though the years have gone by I feel like I've tried to keep him alive with them and grow with them so that they can hear something now and they'll even say wow that sounds like something daddy would say and it makes me feel good because I feel like he's been present with them on this journey.
16:08 What is the image of Patrick that persists?
16:16 I mean, I think him leaving that morning cuz it was my last.
16:20 You know image of him, but him kissing me. Goodbye was very early in the morning like quarter of 5 in the morning and I'm rubbing my belly and kissing my belly and kissing the girls. Goodbye mother slapped and just seeing him go off and I think that's the image cuz that's the last time I saw him.
16:43 What would you ask Patrick if he were here today?
16:47 Well, I mean, of course the burning question is I think you know what truly happened to him that day. And where was he and you know, that's what makes me sad. Is he suffered where?
17:01 Play scared of worried about us.
17:05 You know, I would just want to know where he was and
17:10 What happened to him?
17:12 Can you recall your last interaction with Patrick and I you just said that he kissed you and your belly and and when he left that morning, but maybe you could give us your last interaction more of a positive interaction rather than
17:27 That last sad interaction used to go to work really early and workout over. I think it was by the Marriott and executive Fitness and then he would go over to the office and he would call me every morning check in see how we work cuz we be half asleep when he left and he called me that morning and we talked and we we just checked in about what was going on that day and what we had going on, you know, I was 8 months pregnant.
17:56 And you know, he went to see how I was feeling but it was just a pretty much a normal checklist kind of what do you got going on to Ariel talk to you at lunch. You know when we said I love you and we hung up and unfortunately we hung up text when the first plane hit into the one into one World Trade and he was in the second tower. That was my last verbal interaction with him on that day and
18:20 You know, it was a good one. Like I said and he did try to call me to tell me that the plane had hit the other building and not his building but I did not get the call and I went to machine so he left a very comforting. You know, don't worry kind of don't turn on the news. I hear it looks pretty bad message and you know when shoe pad form I did hear after the fact that when the plane hit the other building he did start to have his secretaries and his staff leave the building and some got out and some didn't unfortunately and Pat did not get out obviously and you know, it was looking for his friend and his boss Barry and you know kind of wanted to see where he was and see what was going on but
19:09 You know, that's true pet form.
19:13 What do you miss most about Patrick?
19:17 Miss the partnership, you know with the girls and like I said just celebrating and all their Joys and all their their celebrations in life and me and there they were just babies when he died and
19:31 They just mean to see it through the kids eyes is so different and he would have really have enjoyed it cuz he was like a big kid at heart. So I really miss that kind of wow moment with him. Wow. That's our daughter, you know kind of thing.
19:48 What has been the hardest thing about losing Patrick?
19:53 You know just not having him here on that same token. The hardest part has been explaining to Grace about you know, her father that she never knew and watching the girls have heartache over this and it's you know, as a parent it breaks your heart and you you want to protect your kids, of course, you know, we put helmets on them when they ride their bikes, but this is one of those that we can't prevent and I can't feel them from and I can't take it away and it really upsets me to see the girls upset and hurt and cry for him and Greece just wants to see him once and they all have different needs and different wants and different missing, you know him and it's just very hard and it's very very sad to see your child have to go through this.
20:40 What has helped you the most in your grief?
20:45 Definitely my face my belief in God knowing that Pat's in a better place and I truly believe that I know so many people say that but I know that my heart and that's what allows me to get up each and every day knowing that Pat is all taken care of and he's he's done his work and he can rest and you know, we still have time to go and we have to do ours but my face first and foremost and my friends just recording and her husband Joe and her kids. I mean you've been unbelievable to us.
21:17 And always will be you mean the world to us.
21:22 And you got us through some really hard times.
21:26 Cuz you were like a second parent for my kids and they just love you to pieces and they really really I know that they think you would look to you as you know my rock and that got me through with their absolutely right, you know in my family and pets family helped and it's just a community that helps you get through something like this.
21:49 How are you different now than you were before September 11th, September 11th. I was a teacher and I stayed home for my kids and I had to stream of writing children's books in the world was such a different different different place and I had I could honestly say I saw the world through my children's eyes and everything was great. The park was great swinging high and feeling the breeze thru your hair was great impact I'd it just all died with him and some ways in my heart and you know, I'm just a lot better now and I'm a lot heavier. I think the happiness and the sadness learn to co-exist and they kind of don't fight each other anymore. So that's better, but they're always be tangled up together. So happy moment that thread can lead to a very very sad moment and without even wanting it or looking for it.
22:48 But I think that you know, I'll always have this heavy sadness and I'll always be a piece of my heart that belongs to that.
22:56 You said that you told Gracie was indeed born a month after Patrick was lost but he did have no a little information. You didn't know and you tell us a little about that what we had obviously two girls and we never found out the sex of her babies and on Gracie for whatever reason he really wanted to find out and it was one of those times that I am to say. He didn't get me to change my mind. He didn't manipulate me. He didn't persist. He didn't just didn't work. So the day we went for the
23:28 Level 2 ultrasound. He said I'm going to find out and I still don't tell me if you do. I really don't want to know and we went and he was in the room the whole time. So I saw it already doesn't know she hasn't told them and we laughed and
23:41 I I thought he knew cuz he said to me I know I said I had to find out and he saw have my ways and I did I kind of believed him but I didn't know to believe them and then when he died the doctor actually it was not my regular doctor that did the ultrasound was different doctor at the hospital and she called me and she said I do indeed remember your husband. He was big Nick's Fanny to Nick's hat on and she said I told him the sex of the baby and he absolutely no so I have to say it was very very comforting knowing that he knew Gracie was going to be born and that she was going to be a greasy we had the name and so that piece of it made you know,
24:23 Made it less painful that I didn't have to wander through life. Wondering if he likes the name I chose if he was happy. We had a girl he know he had a bounce in his step and I knew that it was because in hindsight that he knew we were having Gracie.
24:39 What do you wander about Patrick? I wonder what life would be 10 years, you know with him 10 more years with him. If I had had that I wonder you know, what we would be like together in some of the decisions now that the girls are older what we would make together. I try to do it with always him in mind in our foundation of faith and respect for one another but you know, I'll never know and I don't wonder much else because like I said, I know he's okay. I know he's well taken care of and I know he looks out for us, but I just wonder what life would be like today had thing is not gone. So wrong on that day and I also you know what one important thing. I just want to say and I think you know this clearly I never want Patrick's Legacy to be the World Trade.
25:28 I want his legacy to be that he was just great great father friend's son husband brother. And that was Pat's Legacy. I never wanted to send a million years and one thing we always did as couple and as a family was fly under the radar. We didn't like the attention. We didn't try to have flashy things. We always just wanted to stay under the radar. So the World Trade kind of threw us all out there, but I like that our life is kind of somewhat back under the radar but one thing that I wouldn't mind being out there is that Pat was just this great great all-around well-rounded spiritual Godly, you know God-fearing family, man, and I think that should be his legacy. Not the World Trade
26:16 What don't you know that only Patrick could tell you?
26:21 Waupaca tell me what happened that day. I don't know what happened to him.
26:27 You know, he left me that message saying don't turn on the news the other Tower had a plane but you know, he said on it even I don't know. I think it's a small plane. I'm going to go check it out. So I don't truly know if Pat was alive when the building came down. I don't know if Pat tried to get out that was hurt. But you know, that's the only burning question. I have I have no others. He answered all my questions up until that day. I knew he loved us and knew he was excited to have Gracie. I knew he loved the name Gracie and you know life was good as he would say it up until that moment. Everything was where it should be and we all knew that we were loved and very well taken care of and I think Pat, you know, one of his last gifts to me.
27:16 Was my new husband and I think that was the way Pat showed us that you know, he loved us so much he sent to somebody who is just truly remarkable and I think only pack could have handpicked for her so
27:30 I think the only thing I need to know from that is what happened that day and as time goes by I don't know that it says burning as it was on September 12th and 13th of 2001, but it's always in the back of my mind. Maybe someday it won't matter but it does still cuz the girls want to know to
27:49 All your girls were young when he was lost. I know that they each possess.
27:58 Traits of his can you share those with us well-greased definitely know she just has this calming peacefulness. That is just like Patrick. It's like a wildflower, you know, look at Woodstock kind of laid-back. Everything is great even in time of Crisis and a very, you know, some at some points a procrastinator cuz she's so laid-back, but that was Pat We to last minute and Katy definitely has his Ingenuity and his cleverness and how do you know MacGyver something with duct tape and a bungee and see that little work Mom see you to work and that is so him in a lie. Will she looks the most like him and she definitely has his persistence and you know will not take no for an answer and will go to any lengths but you don't want her own and she'll Financial work for it. But very much like him and funny has some subtlety.
28:58 Come out, you know, it doesn't eat leftovers just like he didn't and you kind of look back and say wow. You were only three when he died had you get this but
29:07 Yeah, it's funny. They all do but yeah, I have to say grace looks like him too and Katie has a little bit of him, but she's more in the cleverness and Ali is his spitting image.