Tribute to John J. Connarn

On Monday evening, June 15, John J. Connarn passed peacefully in his home in Vienna, Virginia at the age of 90.

John was born on the east side of Detroit, Michigan on November 22, 1929. He attended St. John Berchmans School and De La Salle Collegiate. John graduated from the University of Detroit in 1952. From there, he was drafted to the U.S. Army and was selected to join The Counter Intelligence Corp, where he trained at Fort Holabird, in Baltimore and served his country for two years during the Korean War in Stuttgart, Germany.

Upon his return, he began what turned out to be a 38-year career with the Bell Telephone companies. John began as a Yellow Page Directory Salesman for Michigan Bell and moved through the ranks to various management positions in marketing, public relations and external affairs. In addition, he spent two years in New York City with AT&T. Following the break-up of the phone company, John was tasked with opening the Washington, D.C. office for Ameritech, one of the regional Baby Bells. John served as the Vice President of Government Relations for 10 years, until he retired in 1992, at the age of 63.

John had a passion for travel which started while he was in Germany. After he married Patricia Ann (Recicar), his devoted wife of 60 years, they traveled through Europe on a three-week honeymoon in the Renault they purchased in Germany. That “bug” became the mode of transportation for Pat and her five children for over 12 years. Following retirement, they continued to travel, including a trip around the world. John included his children and grandchildren in his travel adventures whenever possible.

It was always important for John to give his time to serve others. In his younger years, he served as the President of Catholic Big Brothers and Board Chairman of Catholic Charities Youth Service. In addition, he mentored many boys, through the Big Brothers program. He also served on the Board of Directors for the March of Dimes and was an active member of Junior Achievement. After retirement, John was a volunteer driver for many years at The Shepard Center in Vienna, Virginia, and taught English as a second language at St. Mark Catholic Church.

In his retirement years, John and Pat enjoyed golfing, weekend getaways to their place on the Potomac River in the Northern Neck, and spending winters in Naples, Florida.

He was blessed with many dear friends from his childhood, family neighborhoods, church and Westwood Country Club. He considered himself lucky, that among his best friends were his siblings, their spouses, and his 30 nieces and nephews, who knew him affectionately as Uncle Bud. His biggest joy and pride in life came from his family; his five children and his 10 grandchildren.

John is survived by his wife, Patricia; his children, Karen Ehrensaal (Bruce), of Great Falls, Virginia; Jim Connarn of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; Greg Connarn of Arlington, Virginia; Charlene Schlimgen (Mike) of Troy, Michigan; and Mary Middelthon (Steve) of Olney, Maryland; his grandchildren, Jamie Connarn, Jessica Connarn, Jennifer Connarn, Kristie Ehrensaal, Michelle Ehrensaal, Caroline Schlimgen, Michael Schlimgen, Brian Schlimgen, Colin Middelthon and Laura Middelthon. He is also survived by his sister Ruth Mazzaro (Lou) and Maureen Krause (Bill/Patrick Kane), sister-in-laws Kay Libby (Herman), and Barb Handy (Larry). He was preceded in death by his sisters Marge Nelson (Don) and Florence Booms (Richard) and brother-in-law Steve Recicar (Lois).

A private funeral mass will be held at St. Mark Catholic Church in Vienna, Virginia.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Kimmel Cancer Center, Development Office, 750 East Pratt Street, Suite 1700, Baltimore, Maryland, 21202; or hopkinskimmelcancercenter.org. Please be sure to note: In Memory of John Connarn - Dr. Lipson's Melanoma Research, either on the comments section online or the memo section of a check. Or the hospice provider Capital Caring, 3180 Fairview Park Drive, Suite 500, Falls Church, Virginia, 22042.

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