Dennis Lawless, an active member of the Juniata Park Civic Association and the 33rd Democratic Ward, will be memorialized this Saturday, January 26th.
Relatives and friends are invited to his visitation on Saturday at 9:00 am and Funeral Mass at 10:00 am at Holy Innocents Church, 1337 E. Hunting Park Avenue.
Friends and neighbors were heartbroken to hear of the fire which took Dennis’ life on Wednesday night, January 9th. As reported in last week’s Juniata News, Dennis succumbed to smoke inhalation on the second floor of his home after a fire broke out on the first floor just before midnight. Numerous friends spoke about Dennis’ love of Juniata in that article. He spoke up whenever he saw a quality of life issue that needed attention.
Jose Giral, a fellow Democratic Committeeman and neighbor, told the Juniata News that words can’t describe how heartbroken he is that Juniata has lost one if its own. “May God bless Dennis Lawless, his family and friends,” he said. “He will be greatly missed.”
Friends and neighbors are being thanked for their donations towards Dennis’ final arrangements.
Donations are still being accepted. Contributions can be mailed to: Guckin Funeral Home, 1419 E. Hunting Park Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19124. You can also call 215-743-7256 for more information.
Dennis Lawless was a tireless ‘Community Warrior’ for his neighborhood of Juniata. If something seemed wrong, or rules were being broken in the neighborhood, Dennis spoke up to everyone he could about it.
Tragically, a fire broke out in his home on the 4300 block of Bennington Street Wednesday night, January 9th at around 11:45. The fire reportedly stayed in the first floor basement area, but Dennis, on the second floor, could not make it out of the house before being overcome by smoke. Firefighters found him dead at his front door. He was 67.
Whether it was double-parking, mobile car washes stealing water from hydrants, or people illegally parking in handicapped spots, Dennis raised his voice to authorities in order to right the wrongs. He was a regular attendee at the Juniata Park Civic Association (JPCA).
“The Juniata Community unfortunately lost one of its greatest advocates, Dennis Lawless,” said Kate Clarke, President of the JPCA. “Although Dennis and I didn’t always see eye to eye, I had to admire his determination and his love of this community. Dennis always seemed to know what was going on in Juniata. It could have been just because he was nosey or he really loved his neighborhood. I’m buying that he loved his neighborhood. When Dennis saw something that just didn’t seem right, he brought it to many people’s attention, including on numerous occasions, TV stations. However, there were many times, he would just call to chat about the community, and chat he loved to do.”
Many people voiced the same opinions of Dennis to the Juniata News this past week. Jerry Bollendorf is a neighbor, fellow democratic committeeman, and good friend of Dennis’. Jerry, like numerous others, affectionately referred to Dennis as “Big Mouth’, and admired his work in the neighborhood. Dennis was Sergeant-at-Arms in the 33rd Ward, a position Dennis’ father once held, and Jerry said that he will be hard to replace. “He really knew his stuff.”
Besides his work, Jerry said that Dennis loved NASCAR racing, Notre Dame Football, The Philadelphia Eagles and fishing. He also loved his days playing football for North Catholic High School.
Donna Aument, 33rd Democratic Ward Leader, along with her daughter, Marnie Aument-Loughrey (President of Kensington Independent Civic Association), have fond memories of Dennis, and they laughed that he was a “pain in the butt”. “No matter what (year) you met him, he never changed,” said Marnie. She added that Dennis wanted the current residents of Juniata to have the same quality of life as he had growing up in Juniata. “No matter your race, religion, it didn’t matter. He wanted everyone to have that basic quality of life. He loved being in and a part of Juniata. He’ll surely be missed.”
Kate similarly saw Dennis as a man who wanted a neighborhood for others as he had as a boy. “Dennis was a member of the Old Guard here in Juniata, remembering what things once were and its history. He regularly attended the meetings of the Juniata Park Civic Association and always let his voice be heard. I will miss him and remember him fondly, and proud to call him a friend. He was an amazing asset and advocate to his home neighborhood, Juniata.”