Lawrence Edward Connolly


Died: July 12, 2013
Lawrence Edward Connolly, 85, of Bloomington, died at 11 a.m. Friday (July 12, 2013) at St. Joseph Medical Center. The primary cause of his death was congestive heart failure. Honoring his explicit wishes, there will be no funeral or visitation. Calvert & Metzler Funeral Home of Bloomington is in charge of cremation services.;In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to either the Bloomington High School Athletic Department or the Heyworth High School Activities Fund.;Connolly was born in Galesburg, IL, March 25, 1928, a son of the Rev. Joseph Lawrence and Florence Brett Connolly. He married Margaret Ann MacDonald in Springfield January 26, 1952. Two brothers, Hugh Holmes and Joseph Brett Connolly, and two sisters, Dorothy Stafford and Patricia Throgmorton, preceded him in death.;Besides his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Kathleen (William) Butler of East Lansing, MI, a son, Joseph Lawrence (Joan) Connolly of Arlington, MA, two granddaughters, Halle Jane Butler of Chicago and Emma Connolly of Arlington, MA, one foster son, Ronald (Susan) Porter, of Aurora, IL, and their children, Craig, Carolyn, and Cassandra, six nephews and seven nieces.;He attended elementary schools in Galesburg, Edwardsville, and Raymond, began high school in Raymond and then graduated from Robinson Township High School in 1946. Immediately following graduation, he enlisted in the U. S. Navy, where he served two years as an meteorologist. Most of that time was spent at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.;In the fall of 1948 he enrolled at the University of Illinois where he earned both a BA and an MA in the teaching of English. He studied toward a Phd in Theater at the U. of I. and also did some graduate work at Purdue University. While at the U. of I., he was president of the Men's Independent Association, an organization which then had about 10,000 men who were not fraternity members. He was a member of Sachem, which honored students who were active in campus activities.;Connolly's teaching career began at Moore Township High School in Farmer City in1952. He left teaching in 1954 to become assistant to the executive director of the National Council of Teachers of English, located then in Champaign. Three years later he became an assistant to the editor of Odyssey Press, a New York textbook publishing firm. Realizing how much he missed high school students, he returned to teaching in 1959. He taught English, speech, and drama, coached the speech team and directed plays first at Champaign (now Central) High School for five years, then for five years at University High School in Normal before beginning nineteen years on the faculty of Bloomington High School, where he also coached the cross country team for five years. He retired for health reasons at the end of the 1987-1988 school year. Feeling better after few years and again missing the classroom, he began working as a substitute teacher, first at Central Catholic and then at Heyworth High School.;The Illinois Speech and Theater Association, an organization for speech and drama teachers at both the high school and college levels, selected him as the 1983 winner of the W. P. Sanford Award for outstanding service to the two areas.;In 1992 he was honored by the intercity athletic directors for his work in intercity sports. He was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches' Hall of Fame as a Friend of Basketball in 1996 and was similarly honored by the Illinois Athletic Directors' Association in 1998. He was known to many as the Voice of the Purple Raiders because he announced all home football, basketball, and track events for nearly forty years, a labor of love that he continued long after retiring from the BHS faculty.;He also found time to be involved in sports outside of the high school. He announced Illinois Wesleyan women's softball home games for twelve years, frequently following them to Florida in March. He went to New Zealand with one mixed group of softball players in 1999. He announced men's fastpitch softball for Bloomington Beer Nuts, was involved with the Hearts and Lady Hearts, and briefly managed a women's team called the Vipers. He liked to boast that he'd been a St. Louis Cardinals fan since age 11, but the Fighting Illini were also his heroes.;His love of theater led to a decade-long association with Community Players, where he acted, directed, produced, worked on sets and, as he liked to mention, sometimes swept the floor. He was on the board of directors and served one term as president. He also acted at Minier dinner theater and at a dinner theater in Lincoln.

Calvert Memorial Home - Bloomington

1115 E Washington St
Bloomington, IL
Phone: (309) 828-2415