Dena (Pace) O'Brien

April 8, 1923 ~ October 30, 2020 (age 97)


Dena (Pace) O’Brien, 97, formally of Torrington peacefully passed away in her sleep on Friday, October 30, 2020, at her home in Upper St. Clair, PA.  Dena was the wife of the late Robert W. O’Brien for 68 years.

Dena was born April 8, 1923, in Torrington, CT. the daughter of the late Antonio Pace and Jennie (Santoro) Pace.  She attended Torrington High School, Torrington Secretarial School, and Northeastern Community College.  She was employed as a media specialist for the City of Torrington upon her retirement.  Prior to taking time off to raise her family she was employed at Plum and Atwood Manufacturing company in Waterbury as a payroll supervisor. 

Dena held many volunteer positions over her years in Torrington.  In her early years she was very active at the Torrington YMCA, Junior Women’s Club and the Torrington Historical Society.  She later became involved in her children’s activities, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, City Wide Cookie Chairman, UNICEF, March of Dimes and the American Heart Association.  She was also very active in St. Peter’s Church and the Adams House Family Council where her mother lived.  Her biggest joy was her large family, connecting them together.  She was so proud of her Italian heritage and passed that on to many generations in the US and Italy. 

She is survived by her son James of Shreveport, LA and her daughter Peggy (Rob) of Bethel Park, PA.  One sister, Mary Kakowski of Branson, MO, sisters-in-law Maureen Pace of New Jersey and Margaret Riiska of Winsted.  She was pre-deceased by her siblings Leonard, Andrew (Carm), Daniel (Edith), Margaret (Daniel).  She will be missed by countless god children, nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews and great-great nieces and nephews whom she loved dearly. 

Friends and relatives may call at Cook Funeral Home, 82 Litchfield Street, Torrington, CT 06790, Friday November 6, 2020, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and also on Saturday, November 7, 2020, from 9:00 am to 10:30 a.m.   The cortege will leave at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 7th from Cook Funeral Home, to St. Peter Church, (St. John Paul the Great Parish) 99 East Main Street, Torrington, CT for a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 a.m., which will also be live streamed on Facebook for those unable to attend in person.  Entombment will follow at St. Peter Mausoleum.  Friends and relatives attending funeral services are reminded to follow CDC recommendations for COVID prevention by following social distancing and wearing face masks.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. John Paul the Great Academy (

Condolences may be sent to the O’Brien family by visiting

To send flowers to Dena's family, please visit our floral store.


November 6, 2020

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Cook Funeral Home
82 Litchfield St.,
Torrington, CT 06790

November 7, 2020

9:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Cook Funeral Home
82 Litchfield St.,
Torrington, CT 06790

Mass of Christian Burial
November 7, 2020

11:00 AM
St. Peter Church
99 East Main Street
Torrington, Connecticut 06790


St. John Paul the Great Academy
360 Prospect St., Torrington CT 06790
Tel: 1-860-482-4456

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