Dennis Cooney, Sr.

December 21, 1943 ~ August 22, 2020 (age 76)



From our Father to all he knew and loved…. 


          “Death is nothing at all

           I have only slipped away to the next room. 

           I am I and you are you.

          Whatever we were to each other, That, we still are.”


           Slàn and Shalom until we meet again…..


On August 22, 2020, Dennis Michael Cooney, beloved father, husband, brother and friend passed away peacefully with his families support and love with him till the end.  His passing came after a long and strong fight with long term illness.

Dennis was born Dec. 21, 1943, in San Francisco, CA., to DeLoris Butts (Buck) where he was raised in the surrounding area.  After graduating high school he joined the Navy in 1961 where he served 3 years, 8 months and 21 days, including tours to Vietnam.

He settled back in San Francisco where he eventually met and married the love of his life, Nina Helzer (Cooney). The two of them moved to Napa, where they began their amazing journey together over the next 36 years, until her passing in 2011.

Dennis fathered four children — DeeDee Cooney (Bennett),  Jeannie Richey (De Gruccio), Dennis Cooney Jr. and James Cooney -  and welcomed and raised his stepchildren Johnny Bean (deceased), Denise Catlett (Jones), George Catlett as his own.

Through all of this, and working full time as an devoted Drug and Alcohol Counselor for Napa County, he went back to school where he graduated from Sonoma State, Suma Cum Laude with a BS in Humanistic Psychology. 

Dennis was an devoted father, whose love for his children, family and friends was ever present as was his sense of humor and wit!

In addition to his love and devotion to his family and friends, animals  were always special to him and while visiting their home, you would often find that you were not the only guest stopping by. The neighbor’s cat, dog or random stray were also enjoying the Cooney hospitality much of the time. Dennis maintained this love through his later years with his beloved dog Willie and cat Sammy with him until the end and he ensured their future home upon his passing. 

Loved ones preceded in death: In addition to his grandparents and parents, his loving wife Nina Cooney, his siblings Patrick Cooney, Francis Cooney, Susan Caldera, Linda Caldera, and his stepson, Johnny Bean.

His legacy: his children: Denise Catlett(Don Jones) of Rocklin, CA., George Catlett(Kim) of Greenville, CA., DeeDee Cooney (Bennett) (Chris Bennett) of Dublin, Ireland, Jeannie Richey (De Gruccio) of Penn Valley, CA (Rick De Gruccio), Dennis Cooney Jr.(Angela Brown) of Napa, CA.,  and James Cooney (Rachel Cooney) of San Diego, CA and; his grandchildren: Naomi and Julia Jones, Alexi Bennett, McKenna Cooney, Hailey and Nolan Brown, Michael, Sofia, Matthew, Josh, Lauren, Adam, and Isabella De Gruccio; his sibling: Lou Caldera; his numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, brother and sister-in-laws. Also, his devoted caretakers and lastly his dog and cat who now mourn him as we do.

The family would like to extend a special thanks to his amazing caretakers who cared and doted on him, making him feel so special until the end; Stephani and Nancy, as well as Collabria Care Hospice for their wonderful care and support (he never stop talking about how wonderful they were to him).   Lastly, the family sends their sincere appreciation as requested by Dennis to Patrick Jolly whom he never forgot the invaluable support in ensuring he was cared for properly due his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. 

Donations can be made in his memory and in Lieu of flowers to his good friend Aric Ahlstrom’s Fire GoFundMe or Collabria Care.

Due to the Covid restrictions, Funeral services will be held privately with immediate family as he is laid to rest with his beloved wife Nina.  The family will hold a Memorial Service in Napa in the coming months to celebrate his life and memory with the many who loved him. Condolences and words of sympathy may be sent to the family at  




To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dennis Cooney, Sr., please visit our floral store.


Private Services

© 2021 Tulocay Cemetery Funeral Home & Crematory. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy