Home Reporter, Brooklyn Spectator say goodbye to Valarie Hennessy

On June 4, the Home Reporter/Brooklyn Spectator lost a good friend, with the death of Valarie Hennessy, a long-time employee.

Valarie was born on March 13, 1964 at Methodist Hospital to Mary and Gerald Massicotte , the youngest of their five daughters, and lived in Park Slope as a child. Her sisters are Bernadette Collins, Mary Massicotte, Josephine Brown and Nancy Napoli.

“We got married on Sept 28 1985, just one day after Hurricane Gloria,” recalled husband Kevin Hennessy. They were married for nearly 29 years. They had one child, Mary Katherine, now 22 years old.

Valarie worked for a lampshade manufacturing company when she was 21. But, said Kevin, she found her passion when she joined The Home Reporter. “She loved working here,” he said. “She worked hard,” and was promoted steadily. When she left the paper, she was the assistant to Co-Publisher Joshua Schneps and office manager.

In addition to her work, Valarie had many hobbies. “She liked knitting. She made afghans and blankets. She also loved going to vacation up to Lake George,” he said.

Valarie had battled illness since she was a child. “She was diagnosed very early in life with rheumatic fever, which causes problems with the valves in the heart. For two years she had to get it followed up at Kings County Hospital and she remembered always taking the bus with her mother to the hospital,” he said.

From September, 2013 until June, 2014, Valarie was in and out of the hospital. Her condition worsened in May. “She went in on May 9 to have a bypass done, which was successful,” Kevin recalled. “On May 23, she had a heart attack in hospital. On June 2, Valarie went in cardiac arrest for 25 minutes, but they got her back. On June 3, she went into cardiac arrest for 10 minutes and they got her back. Then, on June 4, they called me and said she had gone into cardiac arrest. I told them just to stop, it’s over.”

Valarie’s colleagues remember her fondly. “The Home Reporter family dearly misses Valarie,” said Schneps. “She was a fantastic person who befriended everyone in the company and was liked by all. She was a warm and generous person. She led by example through her dedication and hard work ethic. We are grateful to have known her and worked with her.”

“Val was the perfect combination of office mom and no-nonsense manager,” said Heather Chin, reporter for The Home Reporter. “From my first day onwards, she always made me feel at ease, no matter how stressed out we were, and she answered every question with patience and efficiency. Losing her was like losing a part of this office’s heart. I’ll always miss her terribly.”

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