Served in U.S. Marine Corps, worked for GE

Published in the December 11, 2015 edition

MELROSE — Leo Patrick Fennell, 79, of Melrose, died Dec. 2.

Leo was born on Nov. 1, 1936 in Roxbury to Paul and Julia (O’Riordan) Fennell. As a boy, he grew up in the “leaky” roof section of Roxbury, along with his four siblings: Marion, Paul, Billy and Mary. His family was also a member of St. Francis de Sales Parish. Although Leo came from a humble beginning, he used his book smarts to get a scholarship to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross High School in Boston. He then attended Suffolk University for a short time before entering the Marines.

During his time with the Marines, Leo attended the U.S. Naval School of Justice in Newport to receive certification to become a Court Stenographer. He married Helen M. Niland in 1961 and they lived the first several years in Dorchester before settling down in Melrose, with their four children. He worked for GE for over 40 years and instilled his hardworking ethics on his children. Leo had a love for Irish History, Boston and politics. He would read up all these subjects heading into a family event and was ready for a debate at any given moment. He loved the challenge. He was also extremely proud of his grandchildren.

Leo was the beloved husband of the late Helen M. (Niland) Fennell. He was the loving father of Leo M. Fennell and his wife Mary Ellen of Melrose; Sheila M. Fennell of Stoneham; Julie A. Sweeney and her husband Patrick of Rhode Island, and the late Michael P. Fennell. He was the cherished grandfather of Michael, Shay, Brendan and Siobhan Fennell; and Jake, Shayne, and Nathaniel Sweeney. He was the brother of Marion Connolly and her late husband Martin of West Roxbury; Mary Villa and her husband Joseph of Weymouth Landing; the late Paul Fennell and the late William Fennell. He was the brother-in-law of Linda Fennell of West Roxbury. Leo is also survived by many nieces, nephews, cousins and family.

Visiting Hours were held on Sunday, Dec. 6 at the Gately Funeral Home, 79 West Foster St., Melrose. A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Monday, Dec. 7 at St. Mary Church, Herbert Street, Melrose. Interment took place at Wyoming Cemetery, Melrose. In lieu of flowers contributions can be made in Leo’s name to the Parkinson’s Disease Association, 72 E. Concord St., Suite C3, Boston MA 02118 or to St. Mary Church, 46 Myrtle St., Melrose MA 02176. To leave an online condolence, visit