Robert Patrick ConnollyNovember 8, 1923 ~ June 5, 2017 (age 93)
Robert Patrick Connolly
November 8, 1923 - June 5, 2017
One of the remaining members of "The Greatest Generation" cast off the dock lines and glided quietly out to sea June 5, 2017 as a result of skin cancer from decades outdoors. He was able to pass away at home with the loving care of his wife, Maggie.
Robert Patrick Connolly was born in Tonopah, NV in 1923 to John and Katharina Hummel Connolly. He grew up in Tonopah working in his father's business, the Verdi Lumber Company with four brothers and a sister. When he was 10 years old, his brother, Johnny sold him a Model T Roadster with no engine for $5. The lumber yard had a disassembled engine that Robert put back together, installed in the roadster and drove for the next four years.
Robert enlisted in the Navy in late 1942 during his senior year in high school. From boot camp in bitter cold at Farragut Naval Training Station, Idaho, he was selected to go on to Machinist Mates School. From there he was recognized as the one class member chosen to go into the NROTC at Millsaps College and Tulane University studying mechanical engineering. After sweeping US mines from the Inland Sea of Japan, the 136 foot wooden minesweeper endured Typhoon Barbara on the trip back to San Francisco. Anchored off the Golden Gate Bridge the last night at sea, the ship almost sank from a plumbing break in the bilge. Connolly worked three hours in the cold sea water in the bottom of the bilge with the ship's ballast sloshing back and forth. After completing the repair, the award for his actions was a bottle of bourbon and the captain taking his night shift. Robert was discharged in May, 1946 from active duty and 1958 from the Navy Reserves.
After a day at home, his father drove him to Peavine Ranch to begin what would be his life's work of working cattle and farming. By the time Peavine was sold, Robert had his heart set on purchasing a ranch. In 1951, Robert purchased a 450 cow/calf ranch in Ruby Valley, NV. The ranch was sold in 1962. At that time, Connolly wrote in his ledger book, "This closes an epic which spanned the prime years of my life. For seven years I lived alone on the Ruby Valley Ranch and experienced three extreme years of drought and one year of extreme winter conditions, rated the worst of the century. In July 1958 life took a new turn with marriage and a year later the birth of our first child, a son - Charlie."
Robert's marriage to Maggie Trueba July 2, 1958 was to blossom through good times and bad for his remaining 59 years. An infant daughter was lost at birth before the ranch was sold. In 1962 a daughter, Ellen, was born. In 1978, Ellen was tragically killed by an inattentive driver while running with friends.
The family moved to Tonopah, NV to care for Robert's father, run the lumberyard, and work in the Connolly Enterprises rock business in 1963. They remained there until purchasing the Frank Bryce farm in Meridian, ID in 1967. Robert milked cows and farmed the Bryce farm and later added the Fink Farm (now known as Spurwing Greens). Both farms were sold to George Crookham in 1978.
In 1971 Robert started working at Idaho Feedlot Company. He played a major role in converting the wooden lot to modern sucker rod fencing. An innovative hydraulic feed box he designed and built worked well enough that Harsh International sent engineers to study it. Robert worked at Idaho Feedlot Company until he was 83 years old. After retirement, he pursued his hobby of working with aragonite stone.
Connolly was preceded in death by his parents and siblings, John, Joe, Mary Eschen, Edward, and Bishop Thomas Connolly; and daughter Ellen. Robert is survived by his wife Maggie (Trueba), a son Charlie (Helen) Connolly and three grandchildren Luke (Nathalie) Connolly, Krystal Connolly and David Connolly. Luke and Nathalie are parents to two great grandchildren Rita and Julia.
Services will be held at the Holy Apostles Catholic Church at 6300 N. Meridian Rd., Meridian, Friday June 16 at 11:00 AM. A Rosary will precede the service at 10:00 AM -