John Matthew Connelly passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Saturday July 1st, 2023.
Services will be held at Our Lady of Good Counsel on Saturday, July 8th with Rosary starting at 11 am followed by the Mass of Christian Burial at 11: 30 am.
On June 10, 1942, a son was born to Mathew Connelly, an Irishman, and his wife Helen Angermayer Connelly. They named him John Matthew Connelly. His charm was immediately evident, when he garnered all the nurse’s attention and sympathy because of the bruise around one eye that marked his newborn face. One nurse lovingly referred to him as looking like her dog “Skip” and the nickname stuck. It became the endearment that those close to him were privileged to call him.
John was one of 8 children born to Mathew and Helen. However, he endured suffering and loss early when his youngest brother Mikey died in infancy. Stoicism and a reliance on his faith in God soon developed from this early tragedy. This brought home the feeling of being blessed by God and together with his natural charm some might call it the “Luck of the Irish”.
Skip attended Our Lady of Good Counsel and Redemptorist grade schools and later Lillis High School where his faith and desire to serve God grew. This led to him often serving early morning mass. His faith life was not the only facet he developed, he also excelled in sports. He was a natural athlete, earning city honors in football and basketball, as well as respect from both friends and foes.
After high school, which he graduated at 17, John joined the navy. This young man was put in charge of complicated sonar and electrical equipment when he was only 18. He had a natural affinity for the electrical and mechanical operations and earned the respect of his superiors. He did have to learn some discipline though. Skip loved to reminisce about being on KP duty in the officer’s mess and how his quick, ill-advised responses got him into trouble. He learned, eventually, to keep his comments to himself.
God’s blessings or Irish Luck came to play when John was discharged from the navy, when a timely letter had him return to Kansas City and reconnect with his high-school sweetheart, Patricia Gwen Moylan, who eventually became his wife. Skip was gifted by God with a sharp intellect, and he started college at UMKC working on a degree economics. Because John worked two jobs while he went to school and law classes were offered at night, John enrolled in law school. Again, God’s hand was evident as John excelled at it. All the awhile, his family grew. By the time he graduated with honors from UMKC school of law, he had three young daughters, a son, and another son on the way. His family kept growing. He and Patti would go on to have 10 children, eight girls and two boys.
John became a lawyer for ERC, where he was known to handle mergers and acquisitions with fairness and integrity. He became a legend when it came to honesty, integrity, and work ethic. He often had to defend his ethical stance but would not compromise. And again, he earned the respect of his colleagues and peers as he rose rapidly to General Counsel.
Skip played hard too. He loved to play games with his kids, siblings, and friends. His competitive and fun-loving nature was always present on the basketball court, the front lawn during soccer matches and croquet games, at the poker table with his siblings, and late night “Headless Horsemen” hide and seek games with his children. His sense of humor and competitive nature led him to often “make the rules up as he went” in games with family and friends.
He was a man who lived for others–God, his wife, his children and siblings, even neighbors and strangers. His generosity was unmatched. He liked to do for others whether it was a round of beers after a game or taking his elderly parents to visit family in California. John loved to create memories for those he loved, such as surfing the waves in Gulf shores with his kids, playing rounds of golf, or countless hours of family games. John did most of his giving anonymously, because he didn’t want his philanthropy to be known. He didn’t do it for the accolades. He did it because it was the right thing to do. He saw a need and wanted to help. And not just with money, but his time too. He would mow his elderly neighbors' lawns, and get their papers, and move their trash cans, anything he could do to help. He did it to be a part of his community, to show his love of neighbor.
He didn’t splurge on himself with fancy cars or watches and rings, but if he could help a neighbor, friend, or family member, he gave without counting the cost. He taught us that a loan was always a gift, to give the money and forget. John’s faith showed even in this. He believed every penny he earned was a gift from God and meant to be shared. He would say, “You can’t out generous God”. This soul felt belief made him so grateful for God’s generosity and made him a good steward of God’s gifts. Besides supporting the Catholic Church and Catholic Schools, he was staunchly pro-life, in word and in deed, giving generously to organizations like Wyandotte Pregnancy Center.
He was witty and loved self-deprecating humor. He loved to chuckle, but never at others expense. He was courageous and kind, intelligent and strong, competitive and athletic, sensitive and creative. But he couldn’t fix a leak. He didn’t keep many tools other than a hammer. But he loved taking care of his lawn and yard.
He was a complex man. He stood apart from the world around him. A man of few words but those words he expressed were meaningful. Even if that truth was hard to swallow. In a world of abundant noise, his quiet way was hard to understand.
He wasn’t one for giving lectures, in fact he preferred succinct sentences and short conversations, unless he was telling one of his stories. He had many stories, but somehow you felt like you were special when he chose to share one. He could gain the attention of an entire room as listeners would hang on his every well-chosen word, but being one for complete honesty, there were no tall tales or fabrications. No, this man did extraordinary feats during his extraordinary life, and much of these stories reflected a man who acted quickly with instinct, courage, and raw athleticism. A man who walked in God’s grace.
He was a man of action and humility, giving of himself and asking very little in return. He was as simple as he was complex. His final wishes were to go to mass, to receive communion, for us to pray the “Divine Mercy Chaplet”, for his children and grandchildren to be ok, and for final perseverance–to make a peaceful journey to meet his Creator.
John’s Legacy lives on in his children, Anastasia (Joseph) Ventura, Josephine (Monte) Ellis, Kimberly (Corrie) Connelly-Holland, Stephen (Jennifer) Connelly, Erin (John) Rodriguez, Alicia (James) Moy, Kelly (Michael) Sullivan, Elizabeth (John) McLenon, Ashleigh (James) Palmer, 53 grandchildren, and 9 great grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his wife of 51 years, Patricia, and his son John Patrick Connelly.
In Lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Wyandotte Pregnancy Clinic, by mail to 3021 N. 54th St., Kansas City, KS 66104, or online at the following link: lifeandhopeteam.org/give/