Ex-Tiburon mayor helped shepherd in new Town Hall building
Former Tiburon Mayor Therese “Terry” Michelle Hennessy, a longtime former town clerk who retired in 1995 to run for the Town Council, died Oct. 26 of complications of a lung disease. She was 78.
Ms. Hennessy moved to Tiburon in the late 1960s and was hired by then Town Manager Robert Kleinert as assistant clerk when then-assistant Heidi Bigall went on maternity leave. When Bigall returned she moved into the finance department, while Ms. Hennessy stayed on as assistant c
lerk and secretary to Kleinert. She was promoted to town clerk — the official whose duties include managing Town Council elections. She stayed 17 years.
Ms. Hennessy retired in 1995 to run for the Town Council later that year. She did a turn as mayor in 1997, the year Tiburon completed the new Town Hall building at its current location on Tiburon Boulevard, which she had worked hard to get approved and built. As mayor, she got to cut the ribbon, the kind of ceremonial duty she was known to relish.
“She loved being the girl from Brooklyn who became mayor of Tiburon,” her family said.
She won election to a second term, but resigned a few months into that term because she needed to focus on work commitments at the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marin in San Rafael, which provides services for the impoverished and homeless, where she became administrator after retiring as town clerk.
“She’s fiery,” said Bigall, now the town’s director of administrative services, who became a close friend. “She’s fierce. She wasn’t afraid to stand up for what she believed in and what she thought was right.”
Bigall described Ms. Hennessy as dedicated, hard-working, reliable, strong, independent, kind, caring, generous, giving of her time and loyal to the town. Bigall said she carried those qualities through to her friendships.
“She was direct and spoke her mind and everyone paid attention to what she said because she was usually right,” said Tom Gram, who was a colleague on the Town Council and himself a former mayor. “Loved knowing her and working with her.”
Born Sept. 29, 1940, in Grass Valley to William and Marie Burke Hennessy, Ms. Hennessy moved to New York with her family as a child and grew up in Brooklyn, where she attended St. Patrick’s Grammar School and Fontbonne Hall Academy. She trained as an executive secretary and went to work for advertising giant BBDO in Manhattan.
She met her husband, Charles T. Condy, at Hinsher’s Ice Cream Store in Brooklyn. He went to work in sales for Xerox and they married in 1959. They moved to Los Angeles in 1968 and, a year later, moved north to Tiburon, where they raised their three children. They were later divorced.
A devout Catholic, Ms. Hennessy was active at St. Hilary Church and did volunteer work for the Marin Rotary Club, where she was a Paul Harris Fellow; for Stepping Stone, a halfway house for women in San Francisco; and for the Marin chapter of Soroptimist International, which honored her with its Women Making a Difference for Women Award.
Ms. Hennessy was open about having struggled with alcoholism earlier in her adult life and was proud of having remained sober for the last 39 years, her family said. She became a mentor to others in the Alcoholics Anonymous support groups she attended.
Ms. Hennessy is survived by her three children, Christopher Condy of Boca Raton, Fla., Kerry Anne Condy Duff of Villanova, Pa., and Joseph Condy of Lafayette, and 10 grandchildren. Her two siblings predeceased her.
Services have been held. Donations in her memory may be sent to Good Shepherd Gracenter, a licensed recovery residence for women, at gsgracenter.org or 1310 Bacon St., San Francisco, CA 94134.
Deirdre McCrohan has reported on Tiburon local government and community issues for more than 30 years. Reach her at 415-944-4634.