Monday, November 12, 2018

Daniel L. Dempsey

WHITESVILLE, NY - Daniel L. Dempsey, 69, departed this life with family by his side on Friday, November 9, 2018 at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY. Born on October 24, 1949 in Buffalo, he was the son of John Robert (Rip) and Ethelmarie Lambrix Dempsey and grew up in Bennington, NY. On March 17, 1990 he married the former Susan Hillman in Whitesville where they made their home. Dan was a graduate of Attica High School and SUNY at Fredonia and earned a master’s degree from Alfred University.

As a young man, he enjoyed living in several different places in the United States and worked on residential carpentry crews, bridge construction crews, in retail positions and as a self employed firewood provider. After moving to Shongo in 1986, he established himself as a chainsaw artist who worked on commission and exhibited both wood and stone sculptures at juried art shows in western New York with his favorite being the Allentown Art Festival. He also worked as a substitute teacher in area schools, was an adjunct instructor of English at Alfred State for seven years and taught math and science at Immaculate Conception School for a year. He retired in 2011.

Dan greatly enjoyed family gatherings and was happiest when sharing time with his son Ryan. He enjoyed taking long walks, swimming, skiing, reading about and discussing current events, yakking with his siblings and working on house and yard projects. With hundreds of plantings of trees, bushes and flowers and basic homeowner carpentry and masonry skills, he turned a former pasture into a comfortable home for his family.

Left to greatly miss his constant jokes, improvised songs and goofy sayings (“I hardly ever eat sweets”) are his wife Sue and their son Ryan Dempsey of Rolla, Missouri. Also surviving are siblings Jim Dempsey of San Diego, CA, Terry (Pam) Dempsey of Manassas, VA, Tim Dempsey of Coldwater, MI, John (Zhi) Dempsey of Pittsford, NY, Sheila (Mike Buja) Dempsey of Atlanta, GA, Moira (Jerry) Lichen of Boca Raton, FL and Dan’s twin sister Kathy (John) Maryak of Columbia, MD. He will also be missed by his in-laws Patricia Miller of Angelica and Mike and Eva Hillman of Belfast and several nieces, nephews and cousins. He was predeceased by his parents and siblings Tom Dempsey and Mary Ellen Spurgeon.

Friends are invited to join the family for a casual remembrance luncheon to be held from noon to 2 PM on Saturday, November 17th at the Whitesville Fire Hall. 

Memorials made to the Golisano Hope Lodge, 1120 S. Goodman Street, Rochester, NY 14620 or Home Care & Hospice would be greatly appreciated by the family. To leave online condolences, please visit


  1. Sue and Ryan,
    I am so very sorry for your loss. Dan was a fantastic man. A great conversation with Dan often made my day when we were both adjuncts at Alfred State! He will be greatly missed.

  2. We lost a really great man, brother, father, husband, uncle and friend to so many, last Friday, November 9, 2018. Dan fought a long and gallant battle for almost 6 years against cancer. Throughout it all, he was always upbeat, cheerful and optimistic. He was loving and forgiving.

    He was my youngest brother in a family of 10 kids. Always fun to be with and grow up with. He was so smart and talented. My Mom brought him home from the hospital a week or two after his twin Kathleen was born. He had trouble swallowing. I loved him so much that I fed him a big Hersey’s candy bar. Dan, I hope you forgive me for that one. I was only 2 years old and was just “sharing.”

    Some of my fondest memories as a kid, were tobogganing on Meisner’s Hill with him leading the way, crashing through a row of trees before ending up by falling through the ice in the creek. It never stopped Dan from doing it all over again.. We always got a toboggan for Christmas and usually wrecked it before the Holidays were over.

    One other funny thing was when the older brothers were terrorizing us one night by telling us that inmates had escaped from Attica prison and were outside the house. Dan shared a bedroom upstairs with all the brothers and set a mousetrap underneath his bed to protect himself. Hey, he did what he had to do. He was a little guy at the time.

    There’s one more thing I want to apologize for. That is you getting spanked by Dad for starting a fire that several other of us were implicated in. You took the punishment for all of us and I am so sorry for that.

    In spite of all this, he grew up to be the wonderful brother that he was to me and my other eight siblings. He had such a great sense of humor and dry wit. An understated gentleman, he will be sadly missed by all who loved and knew him. `

    He organized and published a booklet of childhood memories that he got everyone in the family to contribute to. We especially loved his version of growing up in Bennington. It’s a cherished store of memories for all of us, and we’ll treasure it forever.

    Thanks so much, Dan. We love and miss you so much.

    Hugs and kisses.


  3. The proceeding comment is by Moira (Dempsey) Lichen.

  4. I was so sorry to hear of your loss Sue. I know this is a very difficult time and you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. I am so sorry for your loss, Sue. I know this is a very difficult time for you and your family. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.