NAUGATUCK – Joseph T. Connolly, age 92, beloved husband of Mary (Hanlon) Connolly, passed away peacefully at his home on Friday, February 26, 2021, surrounded by his loving family.
Born in Waterbury, Conn., on December 28, 1928, he was the son of the late Thomas J. and Mary (Whelan) Connolly. Joe was a lifelong Naugatuck resident and graduate of Naugatuck High School, class of 1946. He went on to graduate from the University of Connecticut and earn his advanced degrees at Fairfield University. Joe began his teaching career at Central Avenue School where he was the first male teacher at a Naugatuck grammar school. He later taught math and music at both Hillside School and City Hill Middle School where he became principal in 1976. His total service in education was more than 38 years, all in his hometown of Naugatuck.
Joe proudly served in the United States Navy. He enlisted in 1951, completed Officer Candidate School, and served four years of active duty. He retired from the United States Naval Reserve as a Lieutenant Commander. Joe was proud of his grandsons who shared his military service: Brock Michaud, who served two tours in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan as a FMF corpsman in the Navy, and Kerry Michaud, who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and is currently a Lieutenant Commander stationed in Virginia.
Joe met his loving wife Mary at Nava Ski Club, where he was a longtime member and past president. He was also a ski instructor at Marchand Ski School at Mohawk Mountain. He passed his passion for the sport onto his family. Joe was a lifelong musician, always passionate about music, and was a Broadway aficionado. He was a charter member and past president of the Connecticut Choral Society, a member of the American Guild of Organists Waterbury Chapter, as well as organist and choir director at St. Mary’s Church in Naugatuck for nearly 70 years. He was a proud member of the Naugatuck AOH, and served as Irish Mayor of the day along with his wife Mary. As an avid traveler, he enjoyed going on cruises and spending time at his vacation home in Vermont. In retirement, ever the mathematician, Joe created exquisite quilts for his family.
In addition to his loving wife Mary, Joe is survived by his children: Joseph T. Connolly and his wife Paula of Middlebury, Christine Connolly of Naugatuck, Kathleen Michaud and her husband Paul of Conover, N.C., Mauralee Connolly of Waterbury, and Francis Connolly and his wife Melissa of Cheshire; his 11 grandchildren, Brock Michaud, Kerry Michaud and his wife Ashley, Erin Sigman and her husband Justin, Aisling, Ciara, and Fiona Connolly, Kyleigh and Cailynn Connolly, Brendan and Sydney Connolly, and Liam Connolly; his six great-grandchildren, Phoenix and Jason Michaud, Rhen Mae and Gunnar Sigman, and Rykin and Kinley Michaud; cousin Kenneth Slawski of Waterbury; sisters and brothers-in-law, Sheila and Richard Collette of Waterbury, and Patricia Wilson of Marlborough. He was predeceased by his aunt and uncle, Lena and Walter Slawski. Joe was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather, and was loved by his large extended family and many friends.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Monday, March 1, 2021, at 11 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church, 910 Main St., Southbury. Those attending were asked to please meet at the church at 10:45 a.m. Burial with military honors followed in St. James Cemetery in Naugatuck. Walkthrough calling hours were held on Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Naugatuck Valley Memorial/ Fitzgerald-Zembruski Funeral Home, 240 North Main St., Naugatuck. Members of the Naugatuck Veterans Council met at 6:30 p.m. at the funeral home. Facial masks and social distancing guidelines will be required at all services. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Joe’s name to Sacred Heart Church in Southbury or the United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls. To send an online condolence, please visit www.naugatuckvalleymemorial.com.