Fairfield preschool teacher dies after battle with cancer

FAIRFIELD — Deanna Marie Herlihy, a well-known preschool teacher, died on June 4 after her second battle with cancer, according to her obituary.

Herlihy was a teacher at Curiosity Corner, which she founded almost 20 years ago. She was regarded by many parents as a modern-day Mary Poppins, and known to many as “Miss Dee,” the memorium states.

Last year, Herlihy was forced to shut down the school when her breast cancer returned after nearly two decades in remission. In the wake of that, Fairfield residents sprang into action.

Amanda Morgan created a GoFundMe page on Feb. 28 that raised more $15,000 from more than 150 donations. The page said the funds went to supporting Herlihy and her family as she was unable to work.

“Ms. Dee is the first teacher many of our little ones ever had,” the page says. “For the past 19 years at Curiosity Corner, she taught them letters, shapes, colors, kindness, a love of nature on their walks to the park and helped them create keepsake art projects.”

Comments on the page praised Herlihy as a passionate teacher who impacted the lives of many children in Fairfield.

“Ms. Dee is such a special, talented woman,” Monica Queally said on the page. “I was thrilled to have Carolyn be a part of Curiosity Corner and it will be memories we cherish forever.”

At the time, Herlihy’s sister, Debra Cingari, described the support as overwhelming.

“All of this is helping to relieve the financial burden that cancer brings,” Cingari said onthe page. “She is now recouping from two recent surgeries to alleviate problems with her lungs which causes her to be breathless and immobile which has been difficult for someone who is so athletic and active.”

Her obituary says Herlihy was a lover of nature and enjoyed hiking, cycling, kyaking, and the beach. It said she cherished the close friendships she shared with many people.

“Deanna was loved by many, being a genuine, giving, loving and compassion heart for all,” the obituary said.

According to News12, the town has approved a memorial bench in honor of Herlihy.

For those who would like to support Deanna and her legacy, please contact backonmybike@gmail.com.