Thomas M. Connolly Aug. 26, 1946 – Sept. 6, 2014 SOUTH BEND – Thomas M. Connolly, 68, passed away peacefully on Saturday, September 6, 2014, at 3:00 PM at Hospice House in South Bend, with his devoted wife of 46 years by his side, after a long and difficult battle with cancer. Tom was born on August 26, 1946, in Chicago, Illinois, the only son of Paul and Ann Connolly. Tom lived all over the Great Lakes region as a child, moving frequently as his father managed various industrial construction projects from Illinois to New York. He came to South Bend to attend Notre Dame in 1964 and graduated with a bachelor of economics in 1968. On July 20, 1968, he married Yvonne (Bonnie) McHugh at Christ the King Church in South Bend. Soon after that, Tom joined the Navy as an officer and was stationed in Pensacola, Florida where he successfully finished flight school to become a Navy fighter pilot and was commissioned Ensign USNR. He was awarded an honorable discharge in 1969 and he and Bonnie moved back to South Bend afterward. Tom’s lifelong love of cars and airplanes guided his long and winding career path. He was truly a jack of all trades working in outside sales in the insurance, trucking, and automotive industries, general manager in the retail industry, and for many years as a telephone system technician. He was a superb mechanic and opened his own automotive parts supply and repair shop, Imported Automotive Supply, in 1977. Many years later, he went back to college to become certified as an aircraft mechanic and had worked at LaPorte Aviation in that capacity until just recently. Tom enjoyed British sports cars and vintage WW II era aircraft, attending airshows and visiting aircraft and auto museums around the country. In his younger years he enjoyed car racing for a time on the SCCA Formula V circuit. He was also an athletic man who enjoyed spending time outdoors. He enjoyed cutting and splitting his own firewood, and at various times throughout his life tried his hand at skiing, surfing, bicycle racing, tae kwon do, fishing, and gardening. Tom was an avid reader for his entire life and could talk for hours on a variety of topics, though he had a particular interest in WW I history, and had done countless hours of genealogical research on his family. More recently, Tom and Bonnie enjoyed traveling to many exotic locales including Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, Barbados, Greece, Italy and many more places in between. A loving husband as well as a wonderful father and grandfather, Tom’s passing weighs heavy in the hearts of his family. He was also a man who could always be counted on to lend a hand to his friends and will be missed by those many friends he has made over the years. Tom was preceded in death by his mother, Ann in 1972 and his father, Paul in 1979. He is survived by his wife, Bonnie; two sons, Neal (Jillian) Connolly of South Bend and Kevin (Jill) Connolly of Newnan, Georgia; and four grandchildren: Neal and Jillian’s daughters, Scarlet and Violet; and Kevin and Jill’s daughters, Caroline and Elizabeth. The entire Connolly family would like to express their sincere gratitude to Drs. Rafat Ansari and Binh Tran and their entire staff at Michiana Hematology Oncology and also to the Center for Hospice for the care, compassion, and support that they provided for Tom and his family throughout this difficult time. Viewing will be from 2 to 4 and 5 to 8 pm Wednesday, September 10, 2014 in the Kaniewski Funeral Home, 3545 N. Bendix Drive, South Bend, where a Parish Rosary will be prayed at 3:30 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 am Thursday, September 11, 2014, at St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church Terre Coupee (meet directly at church). Burial will follow at Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens in Osceola. In lieu of flowers, all memorial contributions may be made to the EAA Young Eagles Program www.EAA.org. To send online condolences, please visit www.kaniewski.com.