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Brendan O. Cleary

Brendan O. Cleary, 79, of Newbury Road, Ipswich, died on December 3, 2020, in his home of a coronary related disease. He was the husband of the late Cynthia J. (Cox) Cleary.

Brendan  was born on September 2, 1941 in Rochester, NY, son of the late George J. Cleary and Dorothy (Donovan) Cleary. He was a proud graduate of Norwich University, Northfield, VT.  Following graduation, he served two years in the United States Army with one of those years being assigned as a tank platoon leader with the First Cavalry Division in Korea.  Following his military service, he coached football and taught school in Montreal, Canada.  In 1968, he joined the FBI as a Special Agent serving first for thirteen months in St. Petersburg, FL.  He was later transferred to Los Angeles, CA where he served for nine years.  While there, he met and married his wife Cindy and enjoyed the birth of their daughter, Erin. In 1978 he was transferred to the Boston Division where he served until August 2001 when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 57.  Immediately following the events of September 11, 2001, he was called back to service and served another year investigating the activity of the 9/11 terrorists while they were in Boston and Maine on the days prior to their fateful mission. Following his retirement in 2002, he enjoyed working on his golf game at Amesbury Country Club, assisting for two years in the construction of three homes in Ipswich for Habitat for Humanity and five years delivering Meals on Wheels.  In 2003 he was inducted into the Norwich University Hall of Fame for baseball and football and where he served on Norwich’s Board of Fellows. While serving the FBI from 1968 to 2002, he received numerous awards and commendations from many law enforcement entities.  He was most proud of his 1992 Paul Cavanaugh Award for outstanding service to the Boston Division FBI.  In 1997 he received the prestigious Director’s Award for Distinguished Service.  He was also proud of his participation in the FBI SWAT Teams in both Los Angeles and Boston, serving in that capacity for over twenty years. 

In addition to his wife Cindy he was predeceased by his daughter Erin Cleary.  Brendan is survived by a brother, Brian Cleary of Lynn; a sister, Michaela Cleary of Venice, FL; and two nieces, KC Cleary Comer of Rockland and Shannon Ggem of Agoura, CA.

An interment  service with Military Honors will be held at the Norwich University Cemetery at a later date. Memorial contributions in his name may be made to Norwich University 1963 Scholarship Fund at https://alumni.norwich.edu/donation/classof63scholarship

Arrangements are under the direction of the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home of Ipswich.


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