Harry Burns Conolly
Harry Burns Conolly (“Hap,” “H.B.”) of Noank, Connecticut, died Monday, June 1, at Yale New Haven Hospital after suffering a head injury and making a five-week hard-fought try at recovery.
Hap was a member of the Greatest Generation. He became known as Hap early in life, short for “happy” due to his cheerful and positive outlook. His quick and wry wit, sense of humor and love of conversation, were his trademark and calling card, all grounded in his faith and his commitment to his family, to his parents, his children, and above all to Nancy, his partner in all and wife of 65 years.
He was born October 2, 1923, in Rochester, New York, the son of Henry/Harry Grattan and Elizabeth Welch Conolly of Rochester, the grandson of Caleb Henry Conolly [Sligo] and Patrick A. Welch [Co. Clare], each emigrants from Ireland. He received his middle name from his maternal grandmother, Mary Burns.
He lived in Brighton, and was a graduate of the Brighton High School. At the onset of WWII, he enrolled in the Citadel [The Military College of South Carolina] and simultaneously enlisted in the U.S. Army. He attended the Citadel until called to active duty in 1943 into the Army Specialized Training Program. He completed the ASTP in the Kalamazoo and Wheaton Colleges, and was then assigned to the Army Signal Corp. in the South Pacific. He served in New Guinea, and then in the invasion of the Philippines. He continued to serve in Manila after VJ day. He was discharged in 1946 as a Staff Sgt. and was later commissioned in 1948 as a 2nd Lt. in the Army Reserve. In May 2009, he was honored with 100 WWII veterans from Connecticut who visited Washington, DC, as part of the American Warrior veterans group.
Hap completed his college education at Syracuse University. He met his wife, Nancy Goodhue, 5 days before her Syracuse graduation [MFA] in 1947, and he then graduated in 1948. He was selected as a member of Beta Alpha Psi and Beta Gamma Sigma, Accounting and Business Honorary Societies, and he served as the President of Delta Upsilon at Syracuse. He enrolled and then graduated as a member of the class of 1950 at the Harvard Business School. He married Nancy in July 1950.
During his career in corporate finance, he worked for Eastman Kodak, followed by 14 years at Allegheny Ludlum Steel Corp. in Pittsburgh, Pa., Dunkirk, and Watervliet. NY. In 1965 he changed industries and became a senior executive with Amax, an international metals refining and mining company. He traveled extensively and was based in multiple Amax locations, including Rockefeller Center, Greenwich, Ct., Tucson, Az. — where he served as President of Anamax Mining, then Golden, Colo., and finally ended his business career with Amax in Paris. He lived with Nancy in the heart of Paris on Rue du Boccador.
In the 1980s, Hap and Nancy found their dream site overlooking Fisher’s Island Sound, and built their retirement home in Noank. Hap and Nancy annually toured and traveled, and also acquired a second home in Glenwood Springs, Colo., where they wintered for more than 30 years every ski season to pursue their love for skiing. Taught to ski by Nancy, Hap excelled and became a ski instructor in his 70s. Hap and Nancy insured that each of their children became expert skiers, and then their grandchildren who they introduced to Aspen Highlands.
Hap and Nancy were charter and then the senior members of the 100 Club, a dedicated retirement group of Glenwood, Colorado, skiers. When not skiing, Hap was a High Country volunteer where for 20 years he advised and prepared tax returns for people in need. He was honored for his work as a senior volunteer with his receipt of the Garfield County Humanitarian Award in 2005. Hap also served as a volunteer in Groton, Ct., serving seniors in need for many years, often as a driver for the sick and the elderly.
In later life Hap enjoyed and refined his talent as a duplicate bridge player, teaming with several of the better players in the Noank area. Hap and his partner were the university bridge champions in 1946 in his first duplicate bridge competition. He continued to compete in later life, winning regional bridge tournaments, he said because of his good luck in having great partners. His love of card games extended to his version of “hearts” where within the family game he was always the player to watch out for. He was also a member of the Ram Island Yacht Club in Noank, and the Stonington Country Club, where he made many friends.
Hap is survived by his beloved wife, Nancy, and his five children/their spouses Nina (Paul Stimson), Henry Neal (Susan Sharp), Mark (Becky), Jeffrey (Stevie) and Jay, and his grandchildren, Walker “Peter,” Jane MD, Elizabeth (Jeff Haislet), Nancy, Danika (Nate Kerr, fiancé), Malcolm “Mac” and Max Sharp. He valued above almost all, education and the success of his children. He was immensely proud of his family and their accomplishments, and remarked on the fact that their careers covered the field: artist, attorney and executive, hardwood engineer and executive, rock musician and touring star, sr. human resources executive, and his already successful grandchildren-all of whom are great skiers.
A Mass for Hap will be celebrated at St Mary Mother of the Redeemer Church, 69 Groton Long Point Road, Groton, Connecticut 06340 on Tuesday, June 9, at 11:00 am. A reception will follow at the church. The family wishes to thank the staff, nurses, and doctors at Yale New Haven Hospital for their care and compassion for Hap and his family. Hap’s charities included St. Joseph’s Indian School, Chamberlain, SD 57326; Mystic and Noank Libraries, 40 Library Street, Mystic Ct.; and St Edmund’s Enders Island at Mystic retreat, PO Box 399, Mystic, Ct. 06355.
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