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Sackets remembers longtime historian Bob Brennan; calling hours today

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SACKETS HARBOR — History was never history to Robert E. Brennan.

He is being remembered as a man who dedicated himself to, and truly enjoyed, sharing details about the village of Sackets Harbor and town of Hounsfield. Mr. Brennan, 92, died Wednesday at the Hospice residence at the Ellis Farm, 1398 Gotham St., Watertown.

“Everybody turned to Bob when they had a question,” said John W. Deans, former mayor and village resident. “The other thing I think a lot of us enjoyed about Bob was that I don’t think there was a time he wouldn’t reach in his pocket and pull out a clipping. Through all the years I knew him, that research into Sackets Harbor, Hounsfield and Madison Barracks gave invaluable purpose to his retirement.”

Mr. Brennan is survived by his wife, Jeannie, and daughter and son-in-law, Constance B. and Lawrence C. Barone. Mrs. Brennan was co-historian of the village and town, alongside her husband. Mr. Barone is a board member of the Sackets Harbor Historical Society, and Mrs. Barone is manager of the Sackets Harbor Battlefield Alliance.

“We know he leaves a major legacy and it’s in good hands,” Mr. Deans said. “I’m sure everything he’s done will be preserved. A lot of what people have come to know and taken for granted may have been lost if it weren’t for Bob.”

He said Mr. Brennan had a particular interest in Madison Barracks and had “an appreciation and understanding of how it worked.” Mr. Deans called Mr. Brennan “an amazing repository on those connections” for being happy and willing to answer questions, show historical items and teach about the village’s rich history.

Several calls to other village residents seeking comment were not immediately returned Thursday.

Together, Mr. and Mrs. Brennan compiled images of Sackets Harbor from their personal and other collections to create the book “Sackets Harbor” in 2000. It was published by Arcadia Publishing. According to the company’s website, all royalties from the sale of the book went to the Pickering-Beach Museum, where Mrs. Brennan was chairwoman, and Hay Memorial Library.

Calling hours are scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. today at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, and a funeral Mass will be said there at 10 a.m. Saturday. Burial will follow in Lakeside Cemetery. Arrangements are with the Reed & Benoit Funeral Home, Watertown.

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