Friends say that Edward "Ned" Dennis III, who died last Wednesday at 63, was an intelligent, friendly man who loved to have fun.
“He was a giver,” said his longtime friend Regina Pompano. “If you were stranded and you needed help and he happened to be in the area, he would help you. He'd feel like he had to help you.”
Dennis was born in Waynesburg, Penn., and moved to Connecticut in 1966. He took a job at Pratt & Whitney in Hartford, working on airplane turbines while he waited to be drafted into the Vietnam War. That happened in 1967, and he served with the U.S. Army until 1969. Pompano said she remembers him spending extra time in the Army because he enjoyed it so much. She said he wasn't on the “front lines,” but was a “radio man,” keeping contact between troops on the ground and those on base.
Upon returning to Connecticut, Dennis moved to East Haven and worked at United Illuminating Co. in New Haven for more than 40 years. During that time, he was an active member of the local utility workers union and the American Legion Post on Thompson Avenue.
“He was a very educated man,” Pompano said. He enjoyed reading, and she said he also liked to sing songs from Disney movies.
“I would laugh about it because it was like any song that was in Cinderalla,” she remembered, laughing. “He would sing them, smile and laugh. He was a very, very happy man.”
Pompano said Dennis was an avid pool player. He kept his and his friend's pool sticks by the door, and whenever he left she said Dennis would tell her, “If anything happens, this one's mine and this one's my friend Bobby's.”
In the past few months, Pompano said her friend used his pool stick as a cane. “That's the Irish in him!” And said she thought he'd like to be buried with it.
“That's gotta go with him,” she said.
Dennis was an avid outdoorsman as well, and Pompano doesn't think it's a coincidence that the January winter storm that dumped more than a foot of snow on East Haven was named Denis by the National Weather Service.
“He wasn't going out quietly,” she said.
He is survived by his sister Marjorie Elsworth and her family in Cleveland, Ohio; and his sister-in-law Rosemary Adams and her children in Cooper City, Fla. A funeral service was held Monday morning at 9:30 at Clancy Funeral Home, and a burial followed with military honors at East Lawn Cemetery.