V. Dennery; Ran Sporting Goods Store

Posted: August 11, 1989

Vincent P. Dennery Sr., 72, a Fordham football player who parlayed his athletic talents into a year with the New York Giants and a career as the owner of sporting goods stores, died Wednesday at his home in the city's Fox Chase section.

Mr. Dennery founded Dennery Sporting Goods about 1946, opening the business on Kensington Avenue near Somerset Street shortly after he returned from serving on the Navy attack transport Laurens during World War II.

For nearly four decades, Mr. Dennery ran the business - and with enough success to open a second store, at 6405 Rising Sun Ave.

His was a business enterprise that started with his love of sport.

Raised in Millville and Jersey City, Mr. Dennery was voted to the all-New Jersey scholastic football team in 1937 after starring as an end for Dickinson High School in Jersey City.

His college years brought similar accomplishments. Mr. Dennery was recruited as an end for Fordham University, which then ranked among the country's top 10 teams. He played with Fordham's famous "Seven Blocks of Granite" and was coached by Jim Crowley, who had been one of the Four Horsemen at Notre Dame.

His two biggest games were against the University of Pittsburgh, a national power, in 1939 and against Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl in 1941, he recalled in an interview last year.

During the Pitt game, Mr. Dennery recovered a fumble that set up a Fordham touchdown, then later caught a 51-yard pass, running 15 yards into the end zone to tie the game at 13-13.

The clincher came in the fourth quarter. Pitt halfback Dick Cassiano was 1 yard away from a touchdown when he was tackled by lineman John Kuzman. The ball bounced out of Cassiano's arms, and Mr. Dennery grabbed it before it hit the ground.

He sped 99 yards for a touchdown.

At the Cotton Bowl, Fordham lost, 13-12, to Texas A&M, but Mr. Dennery learned a number of lessons during the game, he said.

"Three of our touchdowns were called back," Mr. Dennery said in the interview. "It was pretty hard to win down South in those days. The people were great. They gave us cowboy hats and boots and watches . . . everything but the game."

After college, Mr. Dennery played for the Giants in the National Football League - at a salary of $250 a game. The team won the championship in its division, but lost to the Chicago Bears in the title game.

The onset of World War II drew Mr. Dennery from football to the Navy. By the time the war ended, his prospects for returning to the football field had vanished. Mr. Dennery severely injured his right wrist during the landing on Okinawa. He was in and out of hospitals for two years.

So he turned to the business of sport.

"He still wanted to be part of it. It was what he knew the most about," recalled his wife of 47 years, Dorothy.

During the years that followed, Mr. Dennery also saw his sons go on to athletic achievements not unlike his own. One son, Michael, played as a middle linebacker with the University of Southern Mississippi and went on to play for three years with the Oakland Raiders. Another son, Vincent Jr., played guard at Notre Dame, and a third, Tom, played soccer at Spring Garden College and Temple University.

Eventually his sons followed Mr. Dennery into his business. Vincent Jr. opened a Dennery Sporting Goods store at the Woodhaven Mall. And his other sons took over the two other stores when Mr. Dennery retired two years ago.

Mr. Dennery was inducted into Fordham's Hall of Fame.

Surviving are his wife, Dorothy Knight Dennery; sons, Vincent P. Jr., Michael K. and Thomas P.; daughters, Eileen ReCorr, Joan Casey and Mary Joyce, and 19 grandchildren.

There will be a viewing from 7 to 9 tonight at Givnish Funeral Home, 7900 Oxford Ave. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. Cecilia's Church, Rhawn Street, Fox Chase. Interment will be at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Cheltenham.

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