Obituary of Denise M. Borrelli
Denise M. Borrelli, affectionately known as "Denny," passed away peacefully on Monday, September 18, 2023, at Morristown Medical Center, surrounded by her loving family. Born and raised in Flushing, Queens, she later resided in Long Island's East Northport before making Branchburg, New Jersey her home in 1990.
Denny often spoke of her happy childhood memories, of her loving parents, with whom she shared a beautifully close and special relationship, of her beloved Grandmother Connie, and her entire family, and loved to reflect on the joy she derived from the frequent warm and fun-filled gatherings with all her many extended relatives. She regularly recounted the fun she always had when her cousins would come to visit or when her cherished father, Joseph, would take everyone to the lake for a swim and picnic. She deeply valued the friendships she made in her younger years, ensuring she remained connected to them. The bonds of her childhood friendships were so strong that those friends truly became part of Denny’s family. In her youth, Denny showcased an adventurous spirit, enjoying activities like skateboarding and track and field, and excelling as a champion swimmer. Not your typical little girl, she was fearless and playful, enjoying activities like jumping off the garage roof with her brother. She loved roughhousing and beating boys in arm wrestling (which turned out later to be a prerequisite if you were looking for her hand in marriage). She marveled at horses, enjoyed playing her accordion and the guitar, and enthusiastically learned and played on the piano the song composed by her grandfather.
After graduating from Bayside High School in Queens, Denny met the love of her life, Vincent L. Borrelli. The couple dated for several years and exchanged vows at Saint Kevin’s Roman Catholic Church on September 21, 1975. Family and friends joyfully celebrated their union at “Ripples on the Water” overlooking Little Neck Bay and the Throgs Neck Bridge. Denny wholeheartedly embraced the role of wife and mother, taking immense pride in ensuring her home was a haven for her loved ones. Denny recently transformed the outdoor gardens surrounding the family home into a beautiful oasis — spaces where Denny found pure joy with her family.
A parishioner of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Somerville, New Jersey for many years, Denny’s faith was unwavering. She took joy in attending Sunday Mass and cherished the family outings afterward. She could usually be found quietly reflecting in the beautiful church chapel, praying before her favorite statue of the Most Blessed Mother.
Denny had an innate knack for making holidays, events, and gatherings special, and was particularly known for the Thanksgiving celebrations she hosted. With unparalleled organization and efficiency, she ensured every meal was served precisely on schedule and had everything tidied up before dessert - a testament to her meticulous nature. She made Christmas truly magical each year, enthusiastically decking the halls and organizing family Christmas carol sing-alongs, printing out sheet music, and packing up the guitars along with food to share during the celebrations. The care she took to ensure every gathering was perfect stemmed from her desire to ensure everyone, especially all the family children, were cared for, loved, and felt special.
Denny had a unique ability to help others with their problems, calm and reassure them, especially within her family. Denny always placed others before herself, working tirelessly to ensure that her children, husband, family, and friends were safe, comfortable, happy, healthy, and well-fed. Despite some significant health challenges over the years, she was brave and steadfast, never complaining or wanting to burden anyone with her own suffering. Instead, she lovingly and willingly took on the burdens of others. She could always be relied upon for sound advice, a helping hand, and as someone who would listen, reassure, and inspire confidence. Some of her most enjoyable moments consisted of sitting out in the back garden, taking a dip in the pool, or up until just recently, savoring a cup of coffee while speaking on the phone each morning with her beloved mother Marie.
Denny’s playful nature and infectious smile, often noted as the most beautiful by her devoted husband, were captivating. She loved making moments light, often joking, selecting something to watch for family movie nights, and illuminating the room with her vibrant spirit. She had a penchant for murder mysteries and cold case files and had a knack for solving the case within minutes. This stems from her investigative skills she put to work in the DAFT (Denny Annie Fritch Taranto) Detective Agency she founded in childhood with her dear lifelong friend. She especially enjoyed spending time with children, always making them feel special, appreciated, and loved. She considered her sons' friends to be part of her family and loved them as if they were her own. Denny always cherished the special relationships with all her godchildren and had a special place in her heart for her dear Father Sean Kenney.
Traveling brought Denny joy, with family trips to Vermont, the Trapp Family Lodge, Mohonk Mountain House, Niagara Falls, and South Carolina being particularly memorable. Despite the January cold, Denny was moved to bundle up and take several trips to Washington, D.C. over the years to attend the annual March for Life. The highlight of those trips for her was always the National Prayer Vigil for Life, where she marveled at the hundreds of priests and thousands upon thousands of young people gathered to pray for the protection of the most innocent and vulnerable. Often on a crisp fall day in October, you could find her praying silently at the Life Chain in front of Immaculate Conception.
Denny had a strong moral compass and was a fierce advocate for those she loved. So many, from her children and siblings to her friends, can easily recall stories when Denny stood up for and defended them. Above all, her greatest joy was her family.
Denny is survived by her devoted husband, Vincent Borrelli; two loving children, James J. Borrelli and Marc V. Borrelli; and siblings Linda Geissler (Howard), Cathleen Fritch, Joseph Fritch (Maureen), Richard Fritch, and Jacquelyn Dyar (William). She also leaves behind her cherished nieces and nephews Joseph, Kristian, Christopher, Jonathan, Elizabeth, Nathaniel, Alexander, Evangeline, Jesse, Michelle, and Trevor; as well as the beloved children of her cousins, who affectionally call her Aunt Denny: Christina, Michael, Joseph, Lucia, Gabriella, Daniel, Laura, Jillian, Joseph, Christine, Jennifer, and Stephanie.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, September 24, 2023, from 2 to 6 PM at Higgins Home For Funerals, 752 Mountain Blvd, Watchung, NJ 07069. A Second Visitation will be held from 9:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Monday, September 26, 2023, at the funeral home. A Funeral Mass will follow and be held for Denny on Monday, September 25, 2023, at 11 AM at Our Lady of the Mount Chapel, 167 Mount Bethel Road, Warren, NJ 07069. She will be laid to rest at Holy Cross Cemetery in Basking Ridge, NJ.
In Denny's memory, the family invites you to prayerfully reflect on the sanctity and beauty of life, the power of family, and the joy of togetherness.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Pregnancy Aid and Information Center, 59 Thompson St., Raritan, NJ 08869.
Visitation at the Funeral Home
Visitation at the Funeral Home
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