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                                                   Terence Matthew Connelly

                                                  May 7, 1935 – May 2, 2024

 

Terence Matthew Connelly Himself burst into this world on May 7, 1935 in the depth of The Great Depression to Molly and Thomas Connelly.  Raised in a rented house on an unpaved road in College Point in New York City, he thrived in their abundant love where he wanted for nothing. He spent his earliest years playing in Arco Field with his many siblings, cousins and neighborhood kids.  “The Rascal” was blessed with an unfailing ability to impishly devise mischief from whatever implements The Lord gifted his all-too-creative hands, including nearly burning down his family’s wood frame home. He was known to dutifully model clothes for his mother who was sewing them together by hand for his cousins in Ireland, even when it was a floral print dress for cousin Hannah Mary Buckley in Skibbereen, a burden which he offered up for the souls in Purgatory as a devout Catholic.

 

He attended Bishop Laughlin High School for only as long as was necessary, receiving all the knowledge he needed for his long and richly lived life.  When he left for what was next in his storied life, it was on his own terms, not theirs.

 

A rock-ribbed patriot who knew a love of this country that is special to the child of immigrants, he then joined his beloved US Marine Corps and shipped off to boot camp in the swamp incongruously known as Paris Island SC.  There he was nurtured and molded by The South's most gracious Drill Sergeants, receiving affirmations such as "you are a turd, Yankee boy!" and being nourished on The Corps’ signature dish "Sh*t on a Shingle".

 

After his Discharge - which was of course Honorable - he joined NY Telephone and Telegraph (Ma Bell) until he left the safety of that job and daringly became a founding member of IBEW Local 3 Telephone Division in 1972.  A diehard believer that the union spoke for the working man, his leadership, work ethic and knowledge were recognized as he rose to the rank of foreman.  He helped build the World Trade Center, he installed the data turrets in the NY Stock Exchange and the telephone systems at St Vincent’s Hospital in lower Manhattan.  He later installed a system for the legendary designer Halston where he used his abundant smarts and hopeless charm to bridge the chasm between his very blue collared co-workers and Mr. Halston’s very much un-blue-collared elite design staff. He installed a couple of phones for a Long Island housewife named Jean Nidetch in what was then a fledgling operation known as Weight Watchers.  He opined afterwards to his family “Ha! Like that silly idea is gonna ever fly!”  He was grateful that The Lord guided him to stick to installing phones and leave his investment strategies to others.

 

An unstoppable and resourceful Marine with a sense of humor and abundant heart, he unfailingly got himself to work every day for over four decades in spite of New York City's unfailing gritty chaos; surviving traffic, stolen cars, gas shortages, strikes, blackouts, recessions and more than a couple of muggings.

 

After he had built up New York City to his satisfaction, he decamped to his well earned retirement in the small seaside town of Southport NC where everyday for 20 glorious years he greeted the day that The Lord had made by exalting “another day in Paradise!”

 

He loved all things Irish, making several trips to Ireland to cheerfully remind cousin Hannah Mary of the early indignity that he endured for her.  He loved Fordham University's Sunday Irish hour where he would gleefully caricature the announcer’s thick brogue as they proclaimed the community’s important news of the latest First Communion, Holy Confirmation, emigration, union card or the occasional college graduation. He reveled in his Irish music his entire life and still sang along to pub ballads until his very last days.

 

A captivating and endearing teller of tales, Terence filled any room with his loquacity, humor and pure and hearty energy.  Whether holding court at small family gatherings at home or delighting local auditoriums at capacity, his crowd was spellbound with tongue twisting humor about “Prinderella and The Cince” and “Petey The Snake”

 

He raised 4 sons, one step son and one step daughter; instilling in them an indefatigable, never-say-die work ethic, a unique and playful Irishman’s humor, an unquestioning loyalty to family, a true love of country and an unboundedly deep faith in Our Lord.

 

 

He was a faithful member of Our Lady’s Help of Christians Catholic Church, believing unerringly in his community and the Lord’s commandment to take care of the least of His Children.  He volunteered with Meals on Wheels and this former Marine spent 15 years as always, the safe greeter and – when necessary – the gatekeeper at a Domestic Violence Shelter in Southport NC wear he justifiably earned the moniker “Mr. Wonderful”.

 

Once a long-time heavy smoker, he accepted the challenge by his then six year old son Jimmy to give up tobacco and start training for marathons at the age of forty.  That challenge yielded nine marathons, biathlons and triathlons over the next decades of his life and he inspired so many of his next generation to follow his tracks of physical redemption and pure cardio.

 

He enjoyed tennis, scuba diving, photography, swimming, fishing, rollerblading, stained glass and antiquing.  He loved to travel the world in his eight decades and marveling at the wonders that God created in only 6 days. He owned a succession of boats starting with a small 1970s era tacky green tri-hull to a massive teaked out Egg Harbor Cabin Cruiser and generously supported his dependents at Sea Tow who helped him unbeach several of his flotilla.

 

In 1986, he met the love of his life Virginia "Jinny" Tutty to whom he instantly and forever devoted his heart and soul.  Smitten hopelessly with soulmate Jinny after their first date at a Neil Diamond Concert, he went home, dropped to his knees and stammered a simple prayer to The Almighty that He guide him and “Lord, please don’t let me screw this up”.  God did answer Terence’s humble prayer, never letting him “screw it up” and they remained devotedly and adoringly at each other’s side for over 36 years until the day he passed.

 

 

He is predeceased by his mother Mary “Molly” Connelly nee Hourihan of Skibbereen, Co Cork, his father Thomas Connelly of Castlerea, Co Roscommon, his brothers Thomas, Patrick and Jerry and his beloved youngest son James “Moosh” Connelly.

 

He is survived by his sister Ellen Nash, his brother John Regan Connelly (Kathy), his step-son John Chaimanis (Gina), his step-daughter Christina Triolo (Rev. Albert), his sons Terence Jr. (Deb), Chris (Bettye) and Edward (Rita).

He is also survived by his adored and adoring wife Jinny, with whom he shared their passionate, deep, enduring and ineffable soul-mate love over the decades.  She remained unfailingly and devotedly at his side over the many years of his long goodbye, gently holding his hand until the very moment on the morning of May 2, 2024 that His Lord replaced her hand with His Own Hand and led Terence to Eternity, speaking quietly into their hearts “Well Done, My Faithful Servants”

 

Arrangements are for a Funeral Mass on Friday, May 17 at 10:30am at Sacred Heart Parish, 1321 Centre St, in Newton Centre, MA followed by Interment with Military Honors at Newton Cemetery, 791 Walnut St, Newton. The Funeral Mass will be live streamed on sholnewton.org

 

Contributions in his memory may be made to MercyShips.Org

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