Cover photo for John J. 'Jack' Dempsey's Obituary
John J. 'Jack' Dempsey Profile Photo
1937 Jack Dempsey 2023

John J. 'Jack' Dempsey

February 28, 1937 — December 8, 2023


Mr. John J. ‘Jack’ Dempsey, of Waltham, died Friday, December 8, 2023 at his home.  He was 86.

Jack was born in Cambridge on February 28, 1937, a son of the late Daniel and Kathryn (Coffey) Dempsey and attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School before joining the United States Army near the end of the Korean War.

In September, 1963 he married the love of his life, Joan M. Gilreath, also from Cambridge, and the pair lived in Watertown before moving to Waltham in 1970 where they became lifelong residents.  They enjoyed sixty years together before Joan’s passing on November 10th of this year.

Following his discharge from the service Jack went to work for the United States Postal Service where he was a longtime letter carrier in Watertown.  Following his retirement from the post office he went to work as a driver assisting many area funeral homes.  In both jobs, Jack’s kindness, dedication to his duties, and unique sense of humor earned him many lifelong friends.

He was a longtime member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division 14 in Watertown where he also served as a past president, and the Joseph F. Hill American Legion Post No. 156 in Waltham.

Jack was a faithful parishioner at Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted Church in Waltham where he was a Eucharistic minister and usher at Sunday masses.

He leaves his daughter, Karen M. Harnett (late Robert) of Waltham; his grandchildren, Michael and Abigail Harnett and Amanda and Aidan Wenckus; his brother, William Dempsey (Kathy) of Natick and many nieces, nephews and their families.

Jack was also the father of the late Kathryn M. Dempsey and a brother of the late Mary Holian, Neil Dempsey and Daniel Dempsey, Jr.

Family and friends will honor and remember Jack’s life by gathering for calling hours in The Joyce Funeral Home, 245 Main Street (Rte. 20), Waltham on Tuesday, December 12th from 4 to 7 p.m.  and will conclude with a funeral service at 7 p.m. Burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to a fund established at Cambridge Savings Bank to help the family of Waltham Police Officer Paul Tracey, a dear friend of Jack’s and his family. Checks should be made payable to The Paul Tracey Family and can be dropped off at any CSB branch office or by mail to Cambridge Savings Bank, 40 Leonard Street, Belmont, MA  02478.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John J. 'Jack' Dempsey, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Calling Hours

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Starts at 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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