CONNOLLY, Dennis William Patrick "Con"
Post date: 29-Apr-2013 07:31:51
Dennis passed away at Ste. Anne's (Veterans) Hospital on April 25, three days after his 95th birthday. He is predeceased by his eldest son, Michael.
Memories of Dennis will be cherished by, Lilian, his loving wife of 71 years; his children, David (Christina), Patricia (the late Stephen Shaar), Terry (Lee) and Sharon (Mike Schofield); his grandchildren, Andrea, Brian C. (Crystal), Brian S., Christopher, Jessica (Richard Ferrell), Katie (Derek Lagimodiere), Kevin (Rachel), Lauren (James Bush), Lynn (Mike Taylor), Mark (Leah), Matthew (Renata), Shawn and Will (Julie); his great-grandchildren, Adam, Aeden, Alexandria, Arianna, Cameron, Cassidy, Emilia, Jade, Liam C., Liam T., Lola, Michael and Sofia, and his dear friend, Dennis Copley. He was our hero.
Dennis was born in England but raised and educated in New Brunswick. From the time he was a young lad, his sole ambition was to be a pilot. He trained with flying clubs until WWII broke out and then joined the Air Force. With the rank of Sergeant Pilot, he was shipped overseas in 1941 where he fought with RAF 91 Squadron, 222 Squadron, RCAF Squadron 411 (Spitfires) and met his bride-to-be. Following 178 operational trips, including six sorties on the Dieppe Raid, he was posted back to Bagotville, Quebec to instruct on Hurricanes, to Vancouver to a Kitty Hawk squadron and then to Patricia Bay where he was Flight Commander and then Acting O.C. of 163 Squadron.
In 1944, he joined Trans Canada Airlines and, after thirty- one plus years, left Air Canada to pursue a retirement that lasted thirty-seven years.
"Con" had a genuine lust for life and greeted every day with a smile. He was a true patriot, a dedicated family man, a sportsman, a musician, a confidant and a mentor. He has "slipped the surly bonds of Earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings".
Dear Dad, until we meet again. The family extends its deepest and sincere thanks to the amazing staff of the Ste. Anne's Hospital, particularly the 4th Floor Staff. You weren't just his caregivers, you were his friends. A funeral mass in celebration of "Con's" life will be held at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Hudson, Quebec, on Tuesday, April 30 at 2:00 p.m., followed by a reception at the Royal Canadian Legion, Hudson Branch. Some family members will be available to greet friends at the Church at 1:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Ste. Anne's Hospital Foundation (www.fondationhsa.ca) or to NOVA Hudson (www.novahudson.com).
email From Son Terry
The following is an excerpt from an email sent by Dennis' son Terry ....
Dad had over 900 hours total and 220 plus in actual engagement. He flew six sorties at Dieppe and I believe was credited a 190 destroyed on that day. They left before first light and returned after dark.
Dad was conscripted by Trans Canada Airlines in 1944 and after 31 plus years he retired off the 747 Classic. ( He was the first of AC pilots to fly this aircraft as Chairman of the Calpa Evaluation Committee.)
A page from Dennis' photo Album showing some of his 91 Squadron Days
Terry Connolly (son) Remarks at Fairwell
Good afternoon Everyone,
On behalf of Mom and all of the Connolly Clan I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to travel here today to join in the celebration of Dad’s life ...A life well lived !
Few of you would know that Dad’s early years were less than easy. His Dad was a Canadian Soldier who married a British girl. After the War they settled in Benton New Brunswick and after several years Dad and his Mom returned to England.
When he was four years of age his Mother died. Shortly after someone pinned a name tag onto his shirt, put him on a ship, and under the supervision of the ships staff he was sent to his father in Canada.
Dad told me that this was an important event in his life. Because even at fours years of age ...he was fully aware of the lack of affection from his Mother’s family and he decided that going forward He didn’t need anyone and he would take care of himself.
Life in Benton didn’t get much better ... his Dad travelled with the Railroad and left him with a less than pleasant step-mother. Not wanting to burden his father ...he kept his troubles to himself and with his Grandmother and the rest of the Village ... as a buffer ...He took his “ Glass much more than half full” attitude “ and resolved to get the most out of life."
The rest of his life you know either from your experience with Dad, our family or from his Obituary.
Dad chose to greet everyday with a smile and as he often told me “...Lived a life of no Regrets”.
To honour that accomplishment we should look on today as a celebration. Cry ... when we need to but, when we leave here today, go with the knowledge ...It was a great run and that a life just doesn’t get much better than the one lived by our Dad.
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