Cover photo for Denival "Danny" Lopes Barreira's Obituary
Denival "Danny" Lopes Barreira Profile Photo
1972 Denival 2023

Denival "Danny" Lopes Barreira

August 10, 1972 — March 29, 2023

SunflowerDenival Lopes Barreira, age 50, of Worcester, formerly of Goiás, Brazil, passed away on Wednesday, March 29, 2023 at Rose Monahan Hospice Home with his loving family by his side, after valiantly and courageously battling cancer with the utmost humility and grace.

Denival, affectionately known as “Danny”, was born in Itapirapuã, a municipality in the state of Goiás in Brazil. He is the son of the late Domingos Lopes Barreria and Domingas Lopes Barreira. Danny attended college at the Catholic University of Goias in Brasil before immigrating to America in 1999, and graduated from Quinsigamond Community College with his Certificate in Practical Nursing. Additionally, he completed training resulting in  Certifications as a Nursing Assistant and as a Medical Interpreter. Danny worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant for over 10 years in total at Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center and later at Whittier Rehabilitation Hospital, both in Westborough before taking Family Medical Leave, and then ultimately resigning due to his ongoing battle with cancer.

Danny is survived by his husband and partner of nearly 23 years, Andrew David Knorr; his kids, Ana Gabriella Ruggieri, Sammy Ruggieri, and Alyssia Pham, and their mothers and chosen family, Gina and Juliana Ruggieri, all of Leicester; four brothers and four sisters, Dorlin, Derly, Darla, Dorly, Dalilia, Dorival, Delzira and Dalmar Lopes Barreira all of Goiás, Brazil; eleven nieces and nephews, Nego, Daniele, Diogo, Debora Cristina, Yasmim, Camila, Hiago, Aline, Ana Cellyna, Maria Luisa and Alana, all of Goias, Brazil; eight great nieces and nephews, Amora, Davi Luca, Joao Miguel, Artur Henrique, Douglas, Leiliane, Stefany and Thifanny, all of Goiás, Brazil; his mother-in-law, Sallie Ann Knorr of Worcester; his sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Cheri Lu Fanning, and Michael J. Fanning of North Grafton; niece and nephews in America, Joseph D. Fanning of North Grafton, Kelli A. Fanning, and her significant other, Ryan Clark of Norwood; several close friends and extended family, and last, but certainly not least at all – his beloved chocolate, cream and caramel 10 year old Chihuahua, Lua, whom he raised and adored with all his heart and soul. Besides his parents, he is predeceased by his father-in-law, David E. Knorr on December 27, 2022, his Great Aunt, Ana Lopes Barreira, who raised him as his Ma-Mae, and two nephews, Daniel and Higor.

Denival grew up in Itapirapua, Goias, Brazil. He learned of death and the power of family strength from an early age, losing his Mother when he was not even two months old, and his Father when he was four. His Great Aunt, Ana Lopes Barreira, took in and fought to keep the nine Barreira siblings together, and she succeeded, as they have been connected and a close-nit family all these years. Denival was a quite precocious and intelligent child, succeeding in school and socially. Danny was very popular in his hometown and school, had many friends, was very active in community fundraisers and organizing to benefit the people of his community through engaging in theatre, art, and event planning and organizing – Denival was truly a community organizer for his time! Denival had a special relationship with his Great Aunt, Ana, whom he cherished dearly. Andrew had the honor and privilege of meeting her and promising to take care of Denival for life, prior to her passing at age 78.

Every day after school, Denival would race to the River that runs through his hometown to swim and play in the water with all his friends. He never could understand how his Ma-Mae, Ana, would know that he had been swimming against her rules. When she would confront him, he would lie, saying “no, I didn’t go swimming without your permission or supervision, Ma-Mae”; however his hair curled different after having gotten wet, and she always knew. That’s Danny – an independent spirit, always doing what he wants, and stubbornly refusing to stop his daily River swimming. Danny would also play futebol (soccer) every day he could find a game to be a part of – he was quite good at soccer. His sisters would carry sticks from the woods on their heads to build for fires for the meals, Siblings would try to score a pumpkin or watermelon on occasion from the farm, and it was common for Ana and different siblings and Denival to gather plants, herbs, and other resources from the land to survive. Life was very challenging losing both parents so early, and trying to survive in poverty – but love and family were abundant and the glue that kept everyone together and surviving. As the baby of Nine, Denival truly benefited from the great love and protection of his eight siblings. Denival lived with his Sister Darla in Goiania for a while, helping raise his nephew Diogo, and nieces Daniele and Yasmim. He took care of them as a fairly young kid and then teenager himself, feeding them, getting them ready for school, cooking for them, fussing and styling the nieces hair, attending teacher-“parent” conferences – he always looked out for his nieces, nephew, and entire family.

Denival performed very well on a test given at school at age 17, and was able to begin working in a bank. He was quite successful with his accounting skills and customer service strengths. He also worked in various stores at a Mall in the capital city of Goias, Goiania, selling shoes and imports. Danny had a dream he would one day move to Europe or America, and that dream came true. With help from family, especially his Sister, Delzira, he was able to make that dream happen.  

Denival arrived in America and settled in Worcester, in August of 1999. Approximately 7.5 months later, he would meet Andrew in April of 2000. Andrew and Danny started seeing each other almost daily right from the beginning, moving in together quickly. They shared apartment and living spaces at multiple locations across Worcester, Leicester, and Grafton, before purchasing their home, a loft condominium at Fremont Lofts in Worcester, which became home for 15 years. Denival became a United States citizen during those years, became a “Danny” (one of two Dads) to a beautiful daughter, Ana Gabriella, and then had  the kid numbers in the family extended, with the addition of Sammy and Alyssia. Gina and Juliana, the kids Moms have been the greatest source of strength, support, and deep love and care for these wonderful kids that truly have a modern family. Danny was always so proud of our kids, and their wonderful Moms, who raise them and take care of them with unconditional love. In the Fall of 2020, Danny and Andy made the decision to sell their Loft and move into a ranch in the Burncoat neighborhood of Worcester.  It was during the pandemic, and he wanted more privacy and space, as he battled cancer. The move enabled him to enjoy outdoor space, garden, take walks in the schoolyard and neighborhood, and enjoy quality time on his patio he so loved. Lua benefited from this move too!


For work, Denival is a true Jack of All Trades. He has worked as a landscaper, in factories, in construction, in retail, customer service, and mostly in healthcare. In his nearly decade of work as a CNA at both Beaumont and Whittier, Denival quickly became a beloved caregiver to his patients and their families, as well as adored and respected by many colleagues. Additionally, Danny was instrumental in assisting Andrew in setting up his private psychotherapy services practice on Grove Street in Worcester in 2011. The success of Andrew’s practice is rooted in the support, love, and partnership Denival provided. In addition to Denival’s diverse and broad scope of work experiences, he has always been a Renaissance man – Andrew’s Renaissance man. He had a knack for cooking wonderful Brazilian flavored foods, styling his home and closets with his own talented touch, learned the guitar, started singing, and became a self-taught artist, creating a prolific portfolio of colorful pieces that adorn the walls of Denival and Andrew’s home. He was proud to have shown multiple pieces in shows at ArtsWorcester galleries in the past, before cancer. Denival was also a great writer of short stories and poems; particularly in his younger years.

In addition to cherishing their nesting and home lives together, Danny and Andrew cooked together, made music together, enjoyed the arts together, engaged with politics together, and made endless memories together travelling. Some of the highlights of our travels included 5 trips to Brasil together, all over New England, of course, at least five trips to Provincetown for multiple day or week+ long stays every year for at least fifteen years, a cross country road trip, and trips to Montreal, Nova Scotia, and the family cabin in Pennsylvania.

Denival was always loved and adored in all the circles he found himself in across his life. He truly brought out the best in others. He was a bright light that shone love, beauty, creativity, and zest in all he did and shared. He will be forever deeply missed by his husband and partner, Andrew, as well as his beloved nine siblings and many nieces and nephews in Brasil, his entire family here in America, and many friends, neighbors,  and colleagues from over the years.

Relatives and friends are invited to a period of calling hours on Thursday, April 6, 2023 from     9-11 AM at the MERCADANTE FUNERAL HOME & CHAPEL, 370 Plantation St., Worcester with departure beginning at 11 AM for the funeral procession from the funeral home to First Congregational Church of Shrewsbury, 19 Church Rd., Shrewsbury where his funeral service will be celebrated at 12:00 noon.  Burial will follow in All Faith’s Cemetery, Worcester.

In lieu of flowers, kindly consider making donations in Danny’s name to: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute- The Jimmy Fund, 450 Brookline Ave. Boston, MA 02215 ( or ArtsWorcester, 44 Portland Street, Worcester, MA 01608 (

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Denival "Danny" Lopes Barreira, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, April 6, 2023

9:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Mercadante Funeral Home & Chapel

370 Plantation Street, Worcester, MA 01605

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Funeral Service

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Starts at 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

First Congregational Church of Shrewsbury

19 Church Road, Shrewsbury, MA 01545

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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