Haverhill — James C. “Chickie” Dempsey, 84, of Haverhill, died Tuesday, September 17, at the Merrimack Valley Hospital after a period of declining health.
Born in Lowell, he was the son of James P. and Mary A. (Clark) Dempsey. Educated in Lowell he was a graduate of Lowell High School, class of 1948. An extraordinary athlete, “Chickie” played on the high school football team and the high school baseball team. An all star catcher, he was Captain of the baseball team and was scouted by major league scouts and tried out for professional baseball. A Korean War Veteran, Mr. Dempsey enlisted into the U.S. Army and proudly served from 1951 until being honorably discharged in 1953. He then continued his education at the Bryant McIntosh College in Lawrence. He was a member of the AMVETS Post 147, Haverhill, and parishioner of St. James Church.
Mr. Dempsey met the love of his life while on leave at the Commodore Ballroom in Lowell. The Haverhill native, Helen T. Hayes, would soon become Mrs. James C. Dempsey in June of 1952. Living in Lowell soon after marriage, the young couple would settle in Haverhill to raise their family. Although living in Haverhill and loving his adopted city for over sixty years, his heart never left Lowell.
Mr. Dempsey was employed first in the shoe industry in Lowell, he then went to work at the Ford Plant in Somerville, and later became a milkman. He then landed the job of his career, that being the Bookmobile driver and caretaker for the City of Haverhill Public Library. For the next twenty-six years, he enjoyed bringing education to young and old alike throughout the city, always with a smile and conversation, and as an avid Red Sox fan, conversations often turned to baseball. He retired from the Bookmobile in 1998. He also volunteered his baseball expertise and served as coach for the Haverhill Babe Ruth Baseball League for over ten years. Retirement was never for Chickie, he worked tirelessly to help manage his son, Brian’s campaigns and loved every minute of it, however, his most gratifying job title of his life was that of being Grandpa.
He leaves his beloved wife of sixty-one years, Helen T. (Hayes) of Haverhill; four loving sons, James P. Dempsey and his wife, Kathleen, of Waterbury, Conn., Michael J. Dempsey of Haverhill, Kevin G. Dempsey and his fiancée, Robin Wilbur, of Bradford, and the Honorable Brian S. Dempsey and his wife, Julie, also of Haverhill; nine cherished grandchildren, Michael, Jennifer, Meghan, Kevin, James, Jacob, Ryan, Tyler, and Brittany Dempsey; two great-grandchildren, Johnna and Brenden and nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by a daughter, Karen Marie, a brother, Richard, and sister, Dorothy Bill.
ARRANGEMENTS: Friends and family are respectfully invited to call on Friday from 3 until 7 p.m. at the Kevin B. Comeau Funeral Home, 486 Main St., (Route 125), Haverhill. Funeral services will begin on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. from the funeral home with a Mass of Christian Burial to be celebrated at 10 a.m. in St. James Church, Winter St., Haverhill. Burial with Military Honors will follow at St. James Cemetery, Primrose St., Haverhill. Memorial donations may be made in Mr. Dempsey’s name to the Haverhill Public Library, 4 Summer St., Haverhill, MA 01830. Please visit Comeau Funeral Home on Facebook, or www.comeaufuneral.com.