April 14, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
Joe Hennessy, a Forest Hills resident and long-time Community Board 6 Chair, died from COVID-19 complications Thursday. He was 82.
Hennessy chaired CB6 – which represents the areas of Forest Hills and Rego Park – up until September 2019. He was chair for about 30 years.
He was president of the board of directors for the Forest Hills MHA Housing Development Fund for over 30 years and was also a board member of Queens Community House, a nonprofit social services organization.
Frank Gulluscio, the district manager for CB6, said that Hennessy ran the board with diligence and honor. He said that his passing is a tremendous loss to the community.
“Joe was recognized not just citywide but throughout the state for his involvement in the community,” he said.
Hennessy, who immigrated to United States from Ireland, served in the U.S. Army in the 1950s and was stationed in Germany in 1957. He then spent 50 years working for Team Systems Corp., which was one of the largest yellow taxi fleet companies in the city, working his way up to become general manager.
“Joe’s story was a real American dream story,” Gulluscio said.
“He went out of his way to help immigrants and the taxi industry was one of those industries where new immigrants would go to to find work, he would always have their back,” Gulluscio said.
“He was an all-round good guy, always willing to help out and I learned a lot from him,” he said.
Queens Community Board 6 is saddened to hear of the recent passing of longtime chairman & dedicated Forest Hills community leader Joseph Hennessy. Our thoughts are with his family & those that worked with him over the past many decades.
— Queens Community Board 6 (@QueensCB6) April 9, 2020
Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi took to social media to pay tribute to Hennessy’s public service and said it was an honor to work with him.
“He was a true friend, gracious leader, and his impact throughout our community is second to none,” he said.
Sad about the passing of former Community Bd. 6 Chair Joe Hennessy. A tireless advocate for #ForestHills & #RegoPark, he was wonderful community leader who served w/ distinction. His contributions over many decades of service will not be forgotten. Condolences to his loved ones. pic.twitter.com/s6X5crrYbS
— Grace Meng (@RepGraceMeng) April 10, 2020
Congresswoman Grace Meng shared a photo of herself and Hennesy on Twitter and expressed her sadness at his passing.
“He was wonderful community leader who served with distinction. His contributions over many decades of service will not be forgotten,” she wrote.
In March, the Queens borough president’s office recognized Hennessy’s lifelong dedication to serving the neighborhood and issued him with a proclamation.
“Joseph Hennessy has dedicated decades to strengthening Forest Hills and RegoPark,” the borough president tweeted at the time.
“Joseph Hennessy has dedicated decades to strengthening #ForestHills and #RegoPark. CB6 of #Queens took a moment tonight with some of Joe’s family — including his daughter, Sheila, and his granddaughter — to salute his tremendous service and impact in the Borough of Families.” pic.twitter.com/hQa0saTgEL
— Office of the Queens Borough President (@QueensBP2020) March 12, 2020
Hennessy is survived by his wife Catherine, who he was married to for 57 years. They have three daughters; Patricia Hennessy, Karen Hennessy-Bernsley and Sheila Thomas, and eight grandchildren.
He will be laid to rest at Calverton National Cemetery in Long Island on Thursday, his family said.