39 N. Walnut St., Ste 105, Penney Square, Milford, DE 19963 • 302-359-5534 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert J. (Bob) Connelly
December 24, 1947 – December 23, 2015
On December 23, 2015, Bob Connelly died peacefully and with the dignity he deserved. He fought colon cancer for two years, but lived life to the fullest even during his treatments. He was a treasured friend, devoted husband, father and grandfather, tireless advocate and gifted photographer.
He was born in Woodhaven, Queens, New York, the middle child of 5 – older sister Margaret Connelly and brother Francis Connelly and younger siblings James Connelly (deceased) and Theresa Connelly-Baxter. Parents were Francis and Marie (Zimmerman) Connelly (both deceased). Bob attended St. Thomas the Apostle Elementary School and graduated from Franklin K. Lane H.S., Queens, NY. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in November 1967, and served in the infantry in Vietnam, honorably discharged in 1969.
Bob married Rosemary Bivetto of Brooklyn, NY in February 1969. First child, a son, Christopher Devin of Richmond, VA, was born in New York in January 1970, followed by a daughter, Jessica Lynn, of Milwaukee, WI, in Arizona, in June 1974. In April 2004, his granddaughter was born to Chris and her mother, Kim Carter. Kyla brought intense joy to her “Gampy.”
In 1973 Bob joined the Tempe Fire Department, Tempe, AZ, fulfilling a lifelong dream of becoming a professional firefighter, attained the rank of Captain and was part of the Hazardous Materials Team. In 1986, he was awarded the Tempe Rotary Award for Heroism. Bob retired from the Department in 1999.
He earned a BA from Arizona State University at age 50, with an emphasis on Photography. He later returned to school for his teaching certificate, and after retiring from the Fire Dept., taught photography at Westwood High School in AZ for 5 years. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for Teachers and spent a month in the Czech and Slovak Republics.
In 2005, he and Rosemary sold their Phoenix home and moved to Italy for two years where he built an impressive library of photographs while Rosemary created watercolor paintings; it was an experience of a lifetime.
Bob and Rosemary relocated to Milford, DE in 2007 and immersed themselves in the community. He volunteered with the Mispillion Art League, the Bug and Bud Committee and Downtown Milford, Inc., and served on the Economic Development Committee. His photographs were chosen for exhibits at Delaware Art Museum and the Biggs Museum of American Art. Bob was appointed to the Delaware Arts Council in 2015, but had to resign soon after due to his illness.
He joined the Board of Second Street Players, working with his friend Dan Marabello on the Building Committee, was instrumental in SSP receiving a sizable grant from the Longwood Foundation and put his own sweat and muscle into making much needed repairs to the Riverfront Theater. He was the driving force behind “MaRT” - Movies at Riverfront Theater showing monthly films in English and Spanish. Recognizing and celebrating diversity was another of his passions.
Together, Bob and Rosemary Connelly espoused the motto to, “live cheap and make art,” living a simple life, focused more on experiences than collecting a lot of things. Bob was a living example of that motto.
At a party in Bob’s honor December 19, beloved friends and family from far and near gathered in his home to celebrate his presence, contribution, and importance in their lives. He was much loved and will be missed by many. It was Bob’s wish to enjoy this celebration instead of a traditional funeral/memorial service, so there will be no further service. The family sincerely appreciates the outpouring of thoughts and condolences from the community.
Donations can be made in his name to Second Street Players’ Lobby Expansion Project, something Bob was deeply committed to. Mail checks to Second Street Players, c/o Dan Marabello, Riverfront Theater, P.O. Box 470, Milford, DE 19963. http://www.secondstreetplayers.com/About-Us.html.