William Lenihan Sr., 79, Former New Canaan Lawyer

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William O. Lenihan Sr.
William O. Lenihan Sr.

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – William O. Lenihan Sr. of Delray Beach, Fla., formerly of New Canaan, died Oct. 12 at Norwalk Hospital surrounded by his children and grandchildren. He was 79. 

An attorney, Lenihan and his late wife, Marion C. Lenihan, moved to New Canaan in 1971. They raised nine children in New Canaan over nearly 40 years. Lenihan coached youth sports and was a member of the Senior Men's Club, YMCA and Waveny Care Network. 

He was born March 24, 1933, in New York City to Denis and Della Lenihan. Raised in the Inwood section of Manhattan, Lenihan graduated from Power Memorial Academy at the age of 16. He earned a degree in business administration from Manhattan College in 1953. 

Lenihan subsequently earned an LL.B., LL.M. and Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law School, where he was on the Law Review, and a master's degree from Pace University. He was admitted to the bars in New York State, the District of Columbia, U.S. Court of Appeals Second Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court. 

After serving a clerkship with the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Lenihan served 23 years in capacities including senior vice president, vice president, general counsel, treasurer and controller at Grolier, Pfizer, Stauffer Chemical and Citicorp. He later started a private law practice, served as a judge and lectured internationally. 

Lenihan served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War and in the Marine Corps Reserves for more than 30 years. He retired with the rank of colonel in 1984 and received a citation for meritorious service. 

Lenihan competed in the Senior Olympics for many years, earning medals in tennis, volleyball and basketball. He was a lifetime member of the New York Athletic Club and a member of Woodway Country Club since 1986. 

He is survived by nine children, Juneann (John) Hooks, William O. (Kathleen) Lenihan Jr., Richard (Dorinda) Lenihan, Robert (Carol) Lenihan, Janemarie Lenihan, Gregory Lenihan, Linda (Peter) Wood, Laura (Andrew) Kenny and Michelle Lenihan; and 17 grandchildren. 

Visitation is from 3 to 9 p.m. Monday at Hoyt Funeral Home in New Canaan. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Aloysius Church in New Canaan. Burial will follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, N.Y. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Waveny Care Network.

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