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Francis J. Bresnahan

December 18, 1922 - December 15, 2022


Obituary For Francis J. Bresnahan

Peabody - Francis J. Bresnahan, a local business and civic leader from Peabody, Massachusetts, passed away peacefully at home on December 15, 2022, surrounded by his family and other loved ones. Mr. Bresnahan, a proud, lifelong resident of Peabody was born on December 18, 1922, the oldest child of Michael Henry and Margaret (Leahy) Bresnahan in his beloved “Crow Village” neighborhood. He was preceded in death by his wife of 68 years, Dorothy A. (Costello) of East Boston.

He leaves behind his daughter, Cynthia Bresnahan Ambrogio and her husband, Sebastian Louis Ambrogio of Cortlandt Manor, NY, his son Dr. Michael Bresnahan and his wife Dr. Maria Lopez-Bresnahan of Lincoln, MA, his son Christopher Bresnahan and his wife Maura Chenery, of Peabody, MA, as well as grandchildren Francesco Ambrogio and his wife Megan Ambrogio-Chenaille of Dorchester, MA, Taylor Blake and her husband Joseph Mancini of Salem, MA, Victoria Bresnahan and her husband Daniel Fainstein of Acton, MA, Thomas Ambrogio and his fiancé Sarah Simonson of Jersey City, NJ, Andrea Bresnahan of Roslindale, MA, and three great grandchildren Ethan, Gianna, and Luca. Francis is also survived by his sister-in-law Lillian Bresnahan of Aventura, Fl and Annascaul, Ireland.

Mr. Bresnahan attended elementary school at the Wallis School and was a graduate of Peabody High School, Class of 1940. Growing up he participated in numerous athletic and musical activities including playing baseball and studying the violin and trumpet. As a young man he held various jobs, including working for his father when not in school, contributing most of his wages to his family during the economic recession of the 1930s. After graduating from high school, he attended Northeastern University, studying engineering. Like many in his generation, his education was interrupted by World War II and he served in the United States Army during the war. Upon his discharge from the Army in 1945 Mr. Bresnahan re-started M. H. Bresnahan & Sons, a painting and decorating contracting business owned by his father prior to his sudden death in 1945. He attended night school while working, earning a business degree from Northeastern University in 1949.

He married Dorothy Costello of East Boston in 1950 and they enjoyed almost 68 years of marriage before her death in 2018. They lived and raised their family in Peabody always emphasizing the need for education, a grounding in Catholicism, and honesty and respect for others.

Mr. Bresnahan expanded and operated M H Bresnahan & Sons until 2004 in Peabody. He was extremely proud of the business and its roots in Peabody. Mr. Bresnahan became involved in local banking, at various times serving on the Boards of Directors of several banks including the Warren 5 Cents Savings Bank, Merchants Warren Bank and Shawmut Bank. He was a licensed real estate broker and participated in real estate development on the North Shore, including residential and commercial development projects. Mr. Bresnahan served as a mentor to younger entrepreneurs, many of whom kept in touch with him until his death.

He was deeply committed to his Catholic faith and to St. John’s Parish in Peabody. Through the St. John’s community, he became involved in numerous charitable endeavors including the St. Vincent DePaul Society with which he had a special bond. St. John’s Elementary School recognized him as a Legacy Honoree in 2004. In addition to his involvement with St. John’s he was a supporter and friend of the Sisters of Notre Dame and the Carmelite Sisters. His family is grateful for the support and assistance St. John’s Parish, the Sisters of Notre Dame and the Carmelite Sisters provided up to his passing, and are particularly grateful for the spiritual support and visits from Sr. Lenore Coan, and more recently Fr. Derek Borek and Seminarian William Burns, in his final years.

Mr. Bresnahan gave generously of his time and energy to many civic endeavors. Among these were 25 years as the Chair of the Peabody Planning Board and appointment to the Peabody Industrial Development Commission, a member-funded organization created by the City of Peabody that shepherded the development of the original and highly successful Peabody Industrial Park in the 1960s. In the 1970s he served on the North Shore Health Planning Council. He later served for more than 20 years as a Trustee of Beverly Hospital until 2005. In 1986 he was appointed as the Lay Representative to the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers, serving from 1988 to 1996. For this work he was awarded the Chief Justice’s Award for Distinguished Service to the Judiciary in 1996.

Mr. Bresnahan was involved in many charitable endeavors. He formed the Francis Bresnahan Trust which provided scholarships from 1986 to 2019 to Peabody residents who had graduated from local high schools.

Mr. Bresnahan was a long-time member of the Peabody chapter of the Benevolent Order of the Elks, and the Peabody chapter of the Knights of Columbus. He was a very active member of the Peabody Lions Club, holding numerous offices over time, including King Lion, and being especially involved in fund-raising to support numerous charities. In appreciation for his service the Lion’s Club awarded him the status of Monarch Lion.

Mr. Bresnahan lived a long and productive life. He was an excellent example to others as a caring and respectful son, a devoted husband, a tireless and loving father, grandfather, and great grandfather. He was a man of faith, a charitable man, and a good citizen. He pursued and encouraged others to pursue excellence.

Francis was predeceased by many friends and loved ones including his siblings Philip Bresnahan, Fred Bresnahan, and Barbara Murphy.

Francis Bresnahan’s family are grateful to the support and hard work of many organizations and persons that contributed to his care. These include but are not limited to: Health Care workers with Northshore Physicians Group, Salem Hospital, All Care Health, Care Dimensions, and the Pharmacy staff at CVS in West Peabody.

ARRANGEMENTS: In the interest of Health and Safety, Mr. Bresnahan’s family respectfully request masks be worn while indoors attending his services. A visitation will be held on Wednesday, December 21, 2022, from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the Conway, Cahill-Brodeur Funeral Home at 82 Lynn Street in Peabody. His funeral will be held on Thursday, December 22, 2022, at 9:00 AM from the funeral home followed by a Funeral Mass in St. Johns the Baptist Church located at 17 Chestnut Street in Peabody at 10:00 a.m. Burial will immediately follow at Cedar Grove Cemetery located at 100 Cedar Grove Avenue in Peabody. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the St. Vincent DePaul Society in care of St. Johns the Baptist Church, 17 Chestnut Street in Peabody or to the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Danvers, 15 Mt. Carmel Road, Danvers, MA 01923. For directions and online guestbook please visit www.ccbfuneral.com.

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  • 12/20/2022

    The picture I just added was my grandparents House Dorothy & Elton MacNeil being painted by the Lions club under the supervision of Francis Bresnahin !

  • 12/19/2022

    Sending my condolences to the family, your dad was a great friend to my dad to , John ( Jack ) MacNeil the Pan Am airline pilot and my Grandparents Elton and Dorothy MacNeil, here's a funny story that involved your ,my dad hired fran to wallpaper our down stairs bathroom at the house in Hamilton while my dad went on one of his week long flights so when my dad was away our mom added more wallpapering and painting the rest of the rooms in the house it was funny so my mom 2 older sisters and I all packed it up at stayed at Kings Grant back in the 1960s put the 2 dogs at the boarding kennel ect so my supposedly rolled in just after midnight to the house all in darkness with sheets covering everything and found note on kitchen table jack where at king's Grant , so your dad never forgot that ! Signed Joan MacNeil Smith

  • 12/18/2022

    Frannie, I will always remember your smiling and your genuine concern when you asked someone "How are you?" Though I am sorry with your passing I am glad I knew you!

  • 12/18/2022

    I am so very sorry. Before I knew he was your father in law Maura, I watched as he shook hands and smiled at everyone on his way back from receiving communion. Happiness and light shone from him. Then, when a group of us went to sing Christmas Carols at his house, he was so welcoming. I know that Jesus has welcomed him home with that exact amount of enthusiasm-because he is so loved ❤️


  • Celestial Love

    Celestial Love was sent for Francis J. Bresnahan - December 21, 2022

  • 5 TREES

    Nicolás, Nieves, Leonor y Aurelio Emden planted 5 trees in memory of Francis J. Bresnahan . - December 22, 2022

  • 5 TREES

    Bria, Michelle, Kathleen, Maggie & Alix planted 5 trees in memory of Francis J. Bresnahan . - December 20, 2022

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