Charles O. Connelly Sr., 81, mortuary owner

September 08, 1997|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

Charles O. Connelly Sr., a second-generation funeral home director who saw his son follow in his footsteps, died Thursday at St. Joseph Medical Center of complications from surgery. He was 75.

He began his career in 1946 at Connelly Funeral Home of Essex, which his father had opened in 1924. The younger Connelly branched out to Dundalk in 1973, opening a second funeral home.

The Essex funeral home was operated for many years by Charles Connelly and his brother, J. Gordon Connelly Jr., who died in 1995. The brother's children by then had taken over its operation. When Charles Connelly retired in 1987, his son, Anthony Colt Connelly, became director in Dundalk.

"They always kept it a family business and saw that things were tended to in a family manner," Anthony Connelly said.

"During a funeral just a week ago, my son Andrew asked if he could take over and conduct the funeral," Anthony Connelly said. "That would have made my father's day. It is just such a legacy."

Although retired, Charles Connelly kept up with the business -- lending a hand at times and advice at others. He lived above the funeral home.

Mr. Connelly served in the Army Air Forces during World War II and was the first commander of Essex American Legion Post No. 148. He also was past president of the Hawks Pleasure Club of Essex.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at Sacred Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church, 6736 Youngstown Ave., Dundalk.

Surviving, in addition to his son, are his wife of 55 years, the former Anna M. Fitz; two other sons, Charles O. Connelly Jr. and Michael E. Connelly; two sisters, Grace Phillips and Louise Dozier; and 10 grandchildren. All are of the Baltimore area.

Pub Date: 9/08/97

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