NAUGATUCK — Daniel F. Cleary, 68, of 523 Field St., died suddenly on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011, at his home. He was the husband of Donna Phelan Cleary.

Dan was born Jan. 4, 1943, in Waterbury, son of Jessie Benson DiBeneditto and the late Francis Cleary. Dan was raised by Jessie and her second husband, the late Peter DiBeneditto, who raised him as his own son. Dan resided in Naugatuck for all of his life. After graduating from Warren F. Kaynor Technical High School, he enlisted in the Army and later attended Post College. Dan worked for the Uniroyal Corporation for 40 years, retiring in 2004 as Local 218 president of the United Steel Worker’s Union. After retiring, Dan remained active by working at Buckmiller Brothers Funeral Home, continuing to maintain his old friendships while making many new ones.

Dan loved nothing more than spending time with his grandchildren and riding in his beautifully restored 1965 Mustang convertible with his wife, Donna, and best friends, Tom and Anne Carey, also of Naugatuck. When not solving crossword puzzles, Dan could be found working in his yard riding his tractor mower, precision cutting his lawn accompanied by his loyal dog companions, Bear and Betsy.

Earlier in his life, he was an avid hunter and fisherman, having been a member of the Woodbury Southbury Rod and Gun Club. He was also a member of the Naugatuck Lodge of Elks. Above all else, Dan will be remembered as a proud American, a die-hard Democrat, and an ardent supporter of worker’s rights. He also believed that America needs to return to its industrial roots and start producing goods in this country again.

Beside his wife, Donna, and his mother, Jessie, Dan leaves his two sons, Peter of Boston, Mass., and Scott and his wife, Tanya, of Flemington, N.J.; two grandchildren, Kaitlyn and Daniel, also of Flemington; his two brothers and their wives, Joseph and Janet DiBeneditto of Great Falls, Va., and Thomas and Janice DiBeneditto of Newtown. Dan also leaves his mother-in-law, Grace Phelan, and a great aunt, Evelyn Cleary, both of Naugatuck, as well as many nieces and nephews.

Calling hours will be held 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Buckmiller Brothers Funeral Home, 82 Fairview Ave., Naugatuck. The funeral will be held 12:30 p.m. Friday from the Buckmiller Brothers Funeral Home to St. Francis of Assisi Church, 318 Church St., Naugatuck, for a Mass of Christian Burial at 1 p.m. Burial with full military honors will be in St. James Cemetery, Naugatuck.

Memorial contributions may be made to The American Diabetes Association (

For more information and online condolences, please visit