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Alumni Spotlight

Alumni News

Paul J. Connolly

 

    Paul J. Connolly, a resident of Sun Valley, passed away on Sept. 22, 2015, of natural causes.

 

    He was born in Passaic, N.J., on May 13, 1937. He grew up in Wood-Ridge, N.J., and graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Rutherford, N.J., the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton Business School.

 

    Paul is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and served in England and Okinawa, Japan. Among his responsibilities in England, Paul manned the “Red Phone”—the telephone used to initiate military responses during the Cold War.

 

    Early in his career, Paul was employed by RCA Corp. in New Jersey, but in the 1970s he made his way to California, where he lived in San Francisco and managed a software development firm in Silicon Valley, supplying sophisticated software programs to NASA and other government contractors. Paul was regarded highly for his mentoring management style and for his determination to do the right thing: He pursued (and won) a contract appeal in the California Supreme Court when he believed his company’s lawful rights were violated.

 

    It was in California that his two passions for sailing and skiing were ignited. He spent many winter weekends in Squaw Valley where he shared a rental house with several of his Silicon Valley friends.

 

    Paul owned a sailboat on San Francisco Bay, and in addition to cruising and racing around San Francisco, his sailing adventures took him as far north as the Inland Passage between Vancouver Island and British Columbia and as far south as Catalina Island off Los Angeles. In 1984 he entered a single-handed sailboat race from San Francisco to Hawaii, but had to return to San Francisco after several days on the ocean because of a fuel leak from his diesel generator.

 

    In the 1990s, he retired and moved to Sun Valley. He loved Sun Valley with a passion. Over the years, he wore out many pairs of skis on his runs down Bald Mountain. Many evenings with friends were spent around dinner tables at the private homes of friends and at local restaurants.

 

    Paul loved to read and was always up to date on issues of the world and of Sun Valley. The Community Library (which he generously supported) was one of his favorite spots. He was a daily regular at Tully’s and later at Starbucks where the issues of the day were discussed and decided upon. He always had insightful comments to add to the conversations, as well as a wonderful sense of humor. In addition, from 2004 to 2005, Paul served on the Sun Valley Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee, which drafted the 2005 Sun Valley comprehensive plan.

 

    Paul is survived by his sister, Ann T. (Connolly) Curran and her husband, Christopher F. Curran IV of Chester, Vt.; six nieces and nephews; nine grandnieces and nephews; and four great-grandnieces and nephews.

 

    Paul has requested that there be no memorial services for him.

 

    Over the years, Paul became famous for answering “perfect” or “terrific” when asked how he was doing. Recently, he told many of his friends that he had “a terrific life.” Paul, we’ll all miss you.

 

Paul left his alma mater St. Mary High School $250,000.00.

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ST. Mary High School Welcomes home WWII Hero

 

St. Mary High School Pride was on full display yesterday as students, faculty, administration, Pastor Michael Kreder, along with alumni and representatives from a local veterans’ alliance, honored WWII hero and Silver Star recipient William Joseph Schneider, class of 1937.  In recognition of Patriots’ Day of National Catholic Schools Week, Joe was honored by his Alma Mater with respect and admiration.

 

The packed auditorium stood in prayer and then together sang the National Anthem, led by Viet Nam veteran and alumnus James Cava class of 1966. The audience viewed a video of Major Schneider as he was presented the Silver Star for “gallantry in action” while flying as flight commander of an eighteen plane formation in a bombing attack against a heavily defended rail link at Dogna, Italy. Despite a heavy barrage of anti-aircraft fire, causing serious damage to his airplane and others, Major Schneider coolly and courageously directed the waves of his attacking bombers to the bomb release point, thus enabling all bombardiers to drop with great accuracy on the vital communications point.

 

“They called us the bridge busters. You have to fly the plane low and level in order to accurately hit your target which leaves you vulnerable to enemy fire,” said the 1937 graduate of SM. Alumni and Development Director Michael Sheridan ‘77 presented Major Schneider with the Distinguished Alumnus Award 2017. Joseph was the recognized by Rutherford Council President Frank Nunziato, also an alumnus of St. Mary ’84, declaring February 1 William Joseph Schneider Day in Rutherford.

 

Joseph then addressed the audience humbly and reluctantly accepting his most well deserved accolades, “Never in a thousand years did I ever think I would be honored like this.” Joe then spoke to the students about love and acceptance of one another. “We are all one in God’s eyes and let’s all be thankful for what we have.”

 

The assembly stood together once again and sang God Bless America. In a miraculous display of Gael Pride the students of SM lined up in single file and shook hands with their hero, all delivering a messages of “thanks.” “It was one for the record books, and one that everyone present will never forget,” said Sheridan.

 

Click Here to access the newspaper article about this special day

 

 

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