SALEM — Mr. Russell W. Kiernan, 86, of Salem, formerly of Beverly and Exeter, N.H., beloved husband of the late Elizabeth (Dwyer) Kiernan, died unexpectedly on January 18, 2014, at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston, surrounded by his family.
Born in Salem, he was the son of the late Leonard and Josephine (Moran) Kiernan. He was raised and educated in Salem, and was a graduate of Salem High School, he continued his education at Wentworth Institute in Boston.
An honorably discharged veteran, he served his country as a member of the U.S. Navy during World War II.
With the heart and soul of an entrepreneur, Russell began his business career in the automotive industry by founding Kiernan Auto Sales of Salem. His business flourished for over 20 years on Boston Street in Salem. Russell and his brother and best friend, Donald, founded Marine Arts Gallery of Salem in 1971. He turned a passion for collecting marine art, his life’s love, into a successful 46-year career with his brother and partner, Donald, which continues today by the second generation of Kiernan art dealers through its location on Essex Street in Salem. Professionally, Russ was known for his masterful eye and collector’s spirit, which allowed great success over the years.
A long-time, dedicated communicant and supporter of the Immaculate Conception Church in Salem, Russ was ultimately happiest working alongside his family, or spending time with his children and grandchildren. He and his wife had resided in Beverly and Exeter, N.H., making many friends throughout the years, prior to returning to Salem.
He was a true family man at heart, and will be remembered for his business acumen, his dedication to his church, charity, and most importantly to his family. He will be deeply missed.
Russ is survived by his daughters, Elizabeth A. Kelley and her husband, Neil, of Hampton, N.H., Diane Makarushka and her husband, Ihor, of Salem, Priscilla McInnis and her husband, Paul, of North Hampton, N.H., Nancy Hunkins of Newmarket, N.H., and Susan Santin and her husband, Ernest (Sandy) of Wenham; his sons, Philip R. Kiernan of Salem, Peter R. Kiernan and his wife, Pamela, of Topsfield, Stephen L. Kiernan of Floral City, Fla., and Richard W. Kiernan of Ft. Myers, Fla.; his 14 grandchildren, Christopher, Philip and Julia McInnis, Kyle, Carly and Hannah Kiernan, McKale, Trillium, Corbin, and Kendell Santin, and Tabitha, Russell, Stephen, and Nicholas Kiernan; his brother, Donald V. Kiernan of Wenham; and several nieces and nephews. He was also the beloved father of the late Mary Ellen Kiernan, and brother of the late Leonard and Arthur Kiernan.