Denis P. McInerny
Denis P. McInerny of Melbourne Beach, Florida (77) passed away peacefully at home with his wife by his side on January 1, 2023. Denis was born in Chicago, Illinois. He was the oldest of seven children of Matthew and Elizabeth (Lynch) McInerny. Denis was raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Signal Mountain, and graduated from Notre Dame High School. He attended the Colorado School of Mines, where he played football, was Engineer of the Year, and graduated magna cum laude with an Engineer of Mines degree in 1966. Denis married Kathy (Ketchum) in 1965.
Denis followed in his father’s footsteps and pursued a career in underground and heavy civil construction. At the onset of his career, Denis managed the construction of shafts and tunnels in coal mines in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Illinois, and Kentucky. Denis’ career necessitated moving his family 14 times. Kathy was instrumental in making these transitions run smoothly by caring for their four children and managing their household.
Later in his career, Denis worked on the U.S. Strategic Oil Reserve project in the salt domes on Avery Island, Louisiana. Even with Denis’ busy schedule, he often helped with the children’s homework and made it home for lively family dinners. He shared his love for engineering with his children and frequently took them to his jobs. It is not surprising that two of his children became engineers. Denis and Kathy shared their passion for sports with their children and encouraged them to try a variety. Denis enjoyed playing basketball and tennis with his kids, teaching them how to play pool, attending games, and watching sporting events as a family.
While living in Denver, Denis consulted on engineering projects for the World Bank in Ecuador, England, Indonesia, and Peru. In the mid-1980s, Denis moved his family to Santiago, Chile, where he worked on a floating dock project in Punta Arenas and Tocapia, Chile. His family made many happy memories in Chile and spent time playing tennis, having lunch al fresco at the Polo Club, and enjoying summers at Renaca Beach.
Toward the end of Denis’ busy career, he worked on many challenging engineering projects, including the Hanging Lake Tunnels on I-70 in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, H-3 Trans-Ko’olau Tunnels in Oahu, Hawaii, and Westside Light Rail in Portland, Oregon. Denis loved being an engineer, and through his work, he helped build many engineering marvels and forged lifelong friendships.
In 1999 Denis retired as President and CEO of Frontier-Kemper Constructors in Evansville, Indiana, to Melbourne Beach. Early retirement gave him time to make new memories with Kathy and his adult children and grandchildren, engage in old and new hobbies, make new friends, and travel with old ones. Denis was a devout Catholic and a member of Immaculate Conception Church in Melbourne Beach. He loved the challenge of stock investing and shared advice with anyone interested. He stayed active in retirement by playing tennis, biking, kayaking, swimming, weightlifting, and taking long walks on the beach with Kathy. Life was good.
Denis was an intelligent, kind, reserved, humble man who believed in giving back. During retirement, he dedicated countless hours to community service. Alongside Kathy, Denis tutored students in English as a Second Language, volunteered at the South Brevard Sharing Center, and delivered Meals on Wheels. Denis also served on the South Brevard Water Co-Op board.
Denis will be greatly missed by his devoted wife of 57 years and their four children: Matthew (Sharon), PJ (Laura), Molly, and Maureen (Quen), eight grandchildren: Lauren, Jack, Denis, Kevin (Emilee), Gretchen, Henry, Madeline, and Veronica, and one great-granddaughter, Eleanor. He is also survived by six siblings: Suzanne (Glenn), Kathy, Mary, Sally, Michael (Teresa), and Peggy, eleven nieces and nephews, and many close friends. Denis was predeceased by his parents and his son-in-law Richard Lane.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, January 21, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Church, 3780 SR A1A, Melbourne Beach, Florida 32951. In place of flowers, please consider contributing to the Denis and Kathy McInerny Athletic Scholarship Fund at the Colorado School of Mines Foundation, P.O. Box 4005, Golden, Colorado 80402, Meals on Wheels through Aging Matters in Brevard, or Habitat for Humanity of Evansville. The family would like to thank VITAS Healthcare and Family Pillars Homecare for their extraordinary care and compassion.