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John "Jack" Brannelly Sr. '70 October 29, 2020 11:55 AM updated: October 29, 2020 2:27 PM

John “Jack” J. Brannelly, Sr.
April 6, 1939 ~ October 25, 2020 (age 81)

“Manhattan Mormon” Passes at 81

John J. Brannelly, Sr., “Jack” to all who knew him (calling him “John” would expose you as a telemarketer), jumped into yet another life-altering plan by exiting this mortal existence, peacefully, on October 25, 2020.

Born in 1939 in Boston, Massachusetts, Jack was a second-generation Irish American who tenaciously held on to his Irish roots. Raised on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, he somehow maintained his signature “Boston plus Maine” accent all his life.

Jack was an only child, son of WWII Navy Vet Walter Brannelly and Emily Barrett. Jack was highly intelligent; skipping two grades in what he called “grammar school” and eventually matriculating at prestigious Regis High School, an all-boys (still) Jesuit academy, also on the Upper East Side. Jack always said that the foundation of a Jesuit education was “questioning” and that is how he ended up in Utah.

Following graduation from Manhattan College, Jack had many educational opportunities including law school, but in his era the U.S. military had saved much of the world and Jack wanted to be a part of it. Ultimately choosing the Air Force, Jack spent his military career as a flight navigator and then after receiving a master’s degree in Computer Science from Texas A&M (anybody remember computer “punch cards”?) he moved into missile defense systems.

At the start of his military career, he met and married the love of his life, Andrea Gilmore. They began an adventure that would span 58 years, six children, with over a dozen cross-country moves, common to military families.

Always interested in religion, Jack met and observed many fellow servicemen who were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (see “Mormons”). Following his early Jesuit training of questioning, he found his philosophical and religious home. Never shy about new experiences, he was baptized in 1969. A true “paradigm-shifter” within his native culture and family, Jack embraced the LDS faith and never looked back. He spoke several languages and was fluent in German. He was a voracious reader and a walking historical database. He memorized family, friend’s, even acquaintances’ birthdates as accurately as Facebook.

Jack loved his wife and family deeply and was culturally ahead of his time expressing love in words and deeds. Andrea provided Jack the love, support and indefatigable service across all the family’s adventures and faithfully cared for Jack when he faded near the end of his life.

Jack was a quick wit, humorous mimic, gifted pianist and uninhibited singer with a perpetual smile and a twinkle in his eye. But back to his love of family—he LOVED his family; he loved the IDEA of family. He was in awe of his progeny and was fascinated with the entire human family, every race, creed and culture—and everyone who met him could feel it.

He kept his mind always open; He followed his heart; He shifted his family in a positive direction; Who could ask for more than that?

(Jack is survived by his wife of 58 years, Andrea Gilmore, and his six children, Jack Brannelly, Jr., Lynn Brannelly, Patrick Brannelly, Tom Brannelly, Tara Hale and Maureen Rosenthal, with 21 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren).

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