James Connors

Obituary of James Connors

James A. Connors, who was devoted to his family, faith, and community passed away at his home with his family at his bedside on Saturday afternoon, June 26, 2010. Jim was diagnosed with Leukemia 3 weeks ago. He considered his options and chose to spend his time saying goodbye to his family and friends and reassuring them that he was okay with impending death. His courage, faith, and wit comforted his loved ones in his final days. Jim was 85 years old. Jim was born in Malden, the son of the late Patrick and Mary Connors. He spent his first 11 years in Malden, until his family decided his aunt needed him. He went to Drummond, Ireland to help run the family farm, spending the next 10 years living in Ireland. He returned to the United States at age 21 only to enlist in the Army during the end of WW II. He was the recipient of the WW II Victory Medal and the Army of the Occupation Medal of Japan. Jim worked as a letter carrier for the US Post Office in Burlington for over 20 years. He was active in the affairs of Burlington. He coached Babe Ruth Baseball and served as President of the Burlington Babe Ruth League for several terms. He was active in town politics, serving as campaign manager for his friend Selectmen Thomas Flaherty, Jr. He served on Burlington’s original Liquor Advisory Committee. He was a member of the Burlington Knights of Columbus and an active member in the club’s fundraising and social events. He especially enjoyed the Knight’s morning Koffee Club. Jim had many interests. When he was younger, he enjoyed hunting, fishing and the outdoors. He was an avid golfer. At the age of 80, he began playing the violin. He stayed current with technology and even had his own Facebook page. He was devoted to his wife, Leora, who passed away in 2007. He was a caring and understanding father and father-in-law. He was extremely proud all of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Jim was a wonderful role model for his family and will be lovingly remembered. Jim was the beloved husband of the late Leora (Canniff) Connors. He was the loving father of Kathleen Connors & her partner Eileen Martin of Topsham, ME, James A. Connors, Jr. & his wife June of Upton, and the late Michael Connors. He was the brother of Sister Kathleen Patricia Connors of Wilton, CT and the late Matthew Connors, Mary”Sis”Judge, Sister Dorothy Connors, and Patrick Connors. He was the proud grandfather of Amanda Pezzote & her husband Nicholas, Graham Connors & his fiancé Maritza Salema, Evan Connors & his partner Jonathan Weinberger, Clifford Martin & his wife Gina and David Martin & his wife Emily and great-grandfather of Zackery & Gwen Martin. Funeral from the Edward V. Sullivan Funeral Home, 43 Winn St., BURLINGTON (Exit 34 off Rt. 128, Woburn side) on Tuesday, June 29 at 9 a.m. Followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Margaret’s Church, 111 Winn St., Burlington at 10 a.m. Visiting hours Monday 4-8 p.m. Interment in Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Burlington. Memorials in Jim’s name may be made to the K of C Exceptional Children’s Fund, P. O. Box 25, Burlington, MA 01803. Eulogy for Jim Connors, Sr. by Jim Connors Jr. On behalf of my wife June, my sister Kathy and her partner Eileen and our families I would like to thank you all for coming here this morning. It can be said that a Good Man is someone that is driven by strong ideals such as duty, honor and a sense of fair play. A Good Man is someone with core values like faith, hope and charity. A Good Man is loved by many and has a limitless capacity to love. My father was just such a man. He led a unique life that took him to Ireland as a boy of 11 to help his aunt on her farm in rural county Carlow. He stayed in Ireland for 10 years and loved the experience. He would often reminisce about those days and say how he wished that every child could have the chance to live on a farm. My father was a devoted husband. He and my mother were married for 56 years sharing a love that overcame accidents, illnesses and the death of a child. These things my father rarely discussed, instead he focused on the joy and happiness that he and my mother shared with everyone in their lives. After they both retired, my father began cooking and baking. After all, my mother was a cook for the Burlington School system for over 20 years and she needed a break and my father did love his own cooking. He also took up golf with earnest during his retirement years. He played several times a week and went out with his friends as recently as last month. Dad was ideally suited for the role of Papa. He and Grandma came to every game, concert, play, first communion, graduation or semi-special occasion for all of their grandchildren. June and I were blessed to have them living nearby. They would drop everything to help out with our kids. Papa was introduced to Eileen’s boys, CJ and David, when they were 11 years old over 25 years ago. He welcomed them with open arms and he was proud to see them grow into the men they are today. Papa loved his great grandchildren Zack and Gwen and the time they spent together. Dad was a loyal and trusted friend. In the course of my life I have had many people tell me that my father was their best friend. How special it is to be given that title but to have that distinction multiple times is truly extraordinary. His open and honest manner and consistent approach with people made him a very special friend. You always knew where my father stood on any topic because he always spoke his mind. This was never more evident than when he was with his friends at the coffee club. This group has been meeting at the K of C most weekdays for over 25 years. They debate politics, current events and sports. I would discuss the day’s key topics with my father during my evening commute. With all of this discussion and debate I can tell you that there was not a single mind changed on any topic over 25 years. That’s a lot of debate and some pretty strong opinions yet everyone would rinse out their cups, clear off the tables and come back the next day with reformulated and reinforced points to discuss. My father’s father Patrick played the violin. Patrick died when my father was ten and his violin was missing for years. Then my cousin Mary was cleaning the attack in the house my father grew up in and found Patrick’s violin. She graciously gave it to my father who displayed it in his den hoping that one of his children or grandchildren would see it and be inspired to learn to play. Shortly after my father turned 80, he looked up at the violin hanging on the wall and said “Well Pat, I guess it’s up to me!” and began his quest to learn to play the violin. He would entertain us with his latest selections at family events. Occasionally he would hold a concert at the coffee club. Recently I attended his St. Patrick’s Day concert and saw that the friendships that my father formed and the importance of this group cannot be easily explained. The support that these friends provide for one another is inspiring. Dad lived in the same house in Burlington for over 50 years. He was blessed with good neighbors who looked after him in his later years. They made it possible for him to remain in his home by helping him with snow shoveling and home maintenance that would have limited his ability to remain in the home that he loved. It is unusual for neighbors to reach out this way. Alma Road was always a special place made more special by the love that was shared by caring neighbors. An optimist is often described as someone who sees the glass as being half full. There were many times that I would reflect on my father’s situation and marvel at how he could be so positive. Our last Father’s Day together could have been a solemn and tragic event. We all knew this would be our last with Papa. Dad was surrounded by family. He was as happy as I have ever seen him. That evening he was very tired. I helped him get into his pajama’s, tucked him into bed, told him I loved him and kissed him good night. He looked up at me and said “What a great day today was. This is the way it is supposed to be.” Dad was a man of deep faith and he had no fear of death and he has moved on to his reward. Now I can’t help but notice that some of the best and brightest from this parish have been called home to the Lord recently. It leaves me to wonder if there is a heavenly recruiting campaign for a “Few Good Men”. What I do know is that my father was truly a Good Man and he will be missed.
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