James V. Connelly

–  08/29/2012


James Connelly, Devoted Teacher, Father of 16 and Hall of Fame Coach, Dies at 78

James Vincent Connelly entered eternal life August 29, 2012 following complications from a stroke. He passed to eternal life surrounded by family at home in Villa Park, where he was a resident for 37 years.

Born in New York City on June 13, 1934, Jim Connelly attended Regis High School and graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in Civil Engineering and the designation of Outstanding Bengal Bouts Boxer in 1956.

After his devotion to God and his family, Mr. Connelly’s greatest vocation was teaching. His engineering career was short and he began teaching at De La Salle Institute in 1963. In 1967, he joined the faculty at St. Ignatius College Prep where he taught Mathematics, History and Political Science for the next 41 years and coached track and cross country for 23 years. He taught and coached nearly 10,000 scholars and athletes, including 59 state championship qualifiers. Jim was inducted into the Chicago Catholic League Hall of Fame and the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Among his awards were the Joseph B. Whitehead Educator of Distinction Award, the Dei Gloriam Award from St. Ignatius, the Family Exemplar Award from the University of Notre Dame and several Educator of the Year Awards from St. Ignatius. He also served as the school board president at Our Lady Help of Christians School on the west side of Chicago and at St. Alexander School in Villa Park.

In letters, emails and spoken testimony, scores of his students identified Jim Connelly as the best teacher they had ever had, and cited him as an inspiration in their lives.

A devout Catholic, Jim and his wife Susan raised eight biological children, adopted seven more and were foster parents to several dozen other children. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Sue (nee Shapley) of Gary, Indiana and by 16 children, along with numerous others who stayed in the Connelly home and called him “Dad.” His children include Patrick, Susan Linville, Peter (Monica), Frank, Timothy (Kari), Kevin (Sarita), Thomas (Katie), Mary O’Malley (Timothy), Nora O’Hara (Michael), Terence (Reshelle), Jason, Christine Fallenstein (Thomas), Timothy Montgomery, Robert, James and Melissa. He is also survived by sister Irene Sullivan (Robert), brothers John (Susan) and Edward (Peggy) and 22 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his daughter Tynia.

A funeral mass of Christian burial will be held on September 1 at 10:00am at St. Alexander Catholic Church in Villa Park, Illinois. A wake will be held at St. Alexander’s, 300 S. Cornell, Villa Park, IL, on Friday from 2:00pm to 8:00pm. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to St. Alexander School Tuition Assistance Fund, 136 S. Cornell, Villa Park, IL, to Easter Seals, 830 S. Addison Avenue, Villa Park, IL or to the Pro-Life Action League, 6160 N. Cicero Avenue, Chicago, IL 60646.



Guest Book: http://www.legacy.com/link.asp?i=gb000159536957