Obituary for Walter Briggs Connolly
Died: Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Walter Briggs Connolly., 95, of Grosse Pointe Farms, died Saturday, Dec. 5, 2012 surrounded by loved ones.
Mr. Connolly was the consummate gentleman, an aficionado of sport coats and striped ties. He loved his country, a true patriot, raising the American flag each morning in front of his home. His faith and family were of upmost importance to him.
He was born December 9, 1916 in Detroit to William F. and May Cameron Connolly.
A graduate of Georgetown University, Washington D.C., Connolly received his juris doctor degree in 1941 from the University of Michigan and admitted to the Michigan state bar the same year.
Connolly joined the U.S. Navy in 1942 serving two years during World War II as Beachmaster in the Mediterranean Amphibious Forces and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for service during invasion of Southern France. In 1946 Connolly held rank of Lieutenant when he was released from the Navy after four years of service. A true member of the greatest generation.
In 1941 he began his automotive career at Briggs Manufacturing Company and returned to Briggs following his release from the Navy in 1946, later named Vice President of Briggs in 1953. When Chrysler Corporation purchased Briggs automotive plants in 1954, Connolly became supervisor of labor relations and continued a successful 22 year career as a Chrysler executive. Upon his retirement in 1976 he held the position of Vice President Stamping and Assembly Operations.
Mr. Connolly was a great golfer playing twice a week with the self-proclaimed “Oldest Foursome West of the Mississippi”. He played his last round just months ago at the age 95. A true “snow bird” he loved his winters in Stuart, Florida walking the beach and swimming in the ocean.
He enjoyed travelling with his wife Mary Lou and spending time with his children and grandchildren’s families, he was a most admired step-father.
Connolly served on several Boards including Junior Achievement of S.E. Michigan, Marygrove College, Georgetown University Board of Governors and Chairman of the United Way Fund (automotive group). He was passionate about the value of education.
Mr. Connolly is survived by his wife, Mary Louise (Murphy); children, Walter, William (Josie), Michael, and Geraldine; stepchildren, Greg Murphy, Tim Murphy, Paul Murphy, Brian Murphy and Maureen Flaig (David) ; 22 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.
He was predeceased by his parents William F. and May Cameron Connolly, and his first wife Anne Riordan Connolly, three brothers, William, John “Jack” and Donald, one sister Adele Taylor and his son Richard P. Connolly.
Visitation will be 3 to 9p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, at Chas. Verheyden Funeral Home, 16300 Mack, Grosse Pointe Park, with rosary recitation at 7 p.m.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 12 p.m. Monday, Dec. 10, at St. Paul On the Lake, 157 Lake Shore Road, Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan.
Donations may be made to the University of Detroit Jesuit High School, 8400 South Cambridge Detroit, Mi 48221 www.uofdjesuit.org or The Cameron Can Foundation, PO Box 373 Riverside, Il 60546 www.cameron-can.com