On Tuesday, June 22, 2021, Michael John Connolly, loving husband and father, peacefully passed away after a rich life filled with faith, love, and family.
Mike was born on May 20, 1950, in Roseburg, Oregon to Terry and Kay Connolly, moving shortly thereafter to Dinuba, California. He attended Ryan Preparatory Seminary and Dinuba Union High School, meeting lifelong friends before graduating from Reedley College and the University of San Francisco. After graduation, Mike set off on many adventures including receiving his Master’s in Journalism from the University of Missouri, studying Shakespeare at Oxford University, backpacking throughout Europe, bartending in Spain, and eventually meeting his wife, Susan Connolly, playing softball on the Washington, D.C. mall.
After meeting in D.C., the couple married on October 31, 1987, in Alexandria, Virginia. Sue and Mike were true life partners – they shared an unbreakable bond and loved and supported each other unconditionally. Over the course of their 33-year marriage, Mike and Sue had three children, Casie, Chris, and Kevin.
Mike wore many professional hats in his lifetime including an international journalist, White House correspondent for The USA Today, public relations executive, press secretary to some of the nation's most respected politicians, and government relations executive at the College of William and Mary, to name a few. Mike is remembered not only for his intellect but also for his humbleness. Over the course of his lifetime, many peers and colleagues describe him as a leader and mentor in their own success.
Mike was also an incredible athlete. He excelled at track and field, as well as football, playing at Reedley College and the University of San Francisco. Furthermore, he was a legend among the summer softball teams in Washington, D.C.
But more than being a remarkable athlete and excelling professionally, Mike valued his relationships with people. The phrase “never knew a stranger” always rang true with him – Mike was friends with everyone and always made the time. His character will remain unparalleled.
Mike had many accomplishments in his lifetime, but nothing made him prouder than seeing his three children grow up to the wonderful adults they are today. Casie, Chris, and Kevin have continued to make him proud – not just with their academic and professional accomplishments – but with the people, they’ve become. They are perfect examples of the values that Mike embodies and showed so much compassion, patience, peace, and love – especially during his final years.
Besides his wife and children, Mike is survived by his sisters, Kathy Aakhus and Terri Lynn Wright, many cousins, nieces and nephews, and his daughter-in-law, Katherine. He is preceded in death by his parents and dear sister, Patsy Hacker. He leaves many friends as well.
A memorial service to celebrate Mike’s life will be held on Friday, July 9, at 11 AM PST at the St. Anthony Retreat in Three Rivers, CA. In lieu of flowers, Mike’s family asks that donations be made to the St. Anthony Retreat Scholarship Fund, which benefits underprivileged youth from the Central Valley. To make a contribution, go to https://www.stanthonyretreat.org/support-us/paypal/and select “Retreat Scholarship Fund.”