SALEM, MASS. — 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 at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston, surrounded by his family. He co-founded Marine Arts Gallery in 1971 with his brother Donald.
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 US 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 on Boston Street flourished for more than 20 years. Russell turned a passion for collecting marine art, his life’s love, into a successful 46-year career with Donald, also his best friend, 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 longtime, 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 children and their spouses, Elizabeth A. and Neil Kelley of Hampton, N.H., Diane and Ihor Makarushka of Salem, Priscilla and Paul McInnis of North Hampton, N.H., Nancy Hunkins of Newmarket, N.H., Susan and Ernest “Sandy” Santin of Wenham, Mass., Philip R. Kiernan of Salem, Peter R. and Pamela Kiernan of Topsfield, Mass., Stephen L. Kiernan of Floral City, Fla., and Richard W. Kiernan of Fort 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.