Yale University

In Memoriam

William M. Connelly

Mowry Connelly
1964 graduation

Mowry Connelly was remembered at a Memorial Service in Battell Chapel on June 5, 2009 during our 45th reunion. Below are:

Memorial Service reading

by Edward Massey, '64

Greenwich, Exeter, three years through Yale, directed studies (or Scholar of the House, I can't remember which), acerbic, witty, later married to a smart and beautiful woman, later father of smart and beautiful daughters. From the day I met Mowry my question was what special set of gods watches over you? Blessed with such gifts Mowry surprised me, as opposed to left me dumbstruck with awe, with his decision to go to law school.

Of course, that decision had its awesome note, as well. Mowry was determined to make it into law in a manner to which few could aspire: University of Virginia Law School was but a way station to Yale Law School and mother Yale but the inevitable step that led to donning the whitest of white shoes at Cadwalader, Wickersham, and Taft.

Early careers established, young New York professionals, bringing our families to live in the same building, Mowry surprised again with his decision to move to Cleveland. A wonderful city, to be sure, home to many other prominent classmates, and without which we would not have the core of the GOP we enjoy in this wonderful country, but Mowry and Diane Connelly, between them the Greenwich, Exeter, Smith, Yale epitome of WASPdom, in Cleveland?

It was an age before computers, so Mowry had not yet taken to writing his missives. By the time computers came around, he had been a lawyer, and in Cleveland, so long, I forgot to ask why he was there.

Now, one does not think about the whys, lest they ask those gods who watched over Mowry why they did some of the things they did. One thinks about the contribution Mowry made to our lives. His musings and his willingness to send them to us must have meant he went to Cleveland so he could write. Mowry was the designated writer. I barely comprehended how he looked at history, the Civil War, Antarctica, or forts spread across New York State, but I loved reading everything he sent.

It was the writing and the computer and the musings that stitched us together, but life had its own working and its way was to take us apart. Mowry and I got closer after the computer, and I suspect every one of us feels that way. It was episodic but never unwelcome. Of all his messages, the one I loved most was: "Today is my birthday, you may take the day off !"

A year before his death, I did just that. Anne and I took the day off and flew to Cleveland to take Mowry and Diane to dinner. Long hours of cozy chat in the library and too much food at a great restaurant. The perfect way to celebrate a birthday.

I am sad that I will never receive that message again, but I assure you, Mowry, I will never forget it. The day is marked on my calendar, February 5, and while I may not take it off, I will celebrate it.

For those of you who did not know, Diane followed Mowry eight months later.



William Mowry Connelly, a prominent product liability attorney, died Saturday, May 12, 2007, from a heart attack. He was 64.

Connelly was born February 5, 1943 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and grew up in Greenwich, CT. As a boy, he spent his summers in rural Maine, where he developed a fascination of trains and a love of the natural wilderness.

He attended Greenwich Country Day School, followed by Phillips Exeter Academy, where he was active in the theater. He served as class of 1961 correspondent for Exeter until his death. Connelly went on to graduate in 1964 from Yale University in just three years, where he was member of the Society of Book and Snake. He then went on to earn his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1967.

Connelly spent nine years at Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft law firm in New York City before relocating in 1976 to Cleveland to act as head of litigation for TRW. In 1986 he became a partner at Walter and Haverfield law firm in Cleveland, where he retired in 2002.

He was a fan of the New York Metropolitan Opera and an avid American history buff. His fascination with military history led him to become an expert on early American forts. He was known for hosting tours of the James A. Garfield Memorial at Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland.

He is survived by his wife, Diane, daughters Karin Rice, Susan Thompson and Heather, a grandson, Alexander Mowry Thompson, and a cousin, Patricia Mudge.

Services will be held Saturday, May 19th at 4 p.m. at Plymouth Church, 2860 Coventry Road, Shaker Heights. Contributions can be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation or the Exeter Academy Theater Department (Attention: Bonnie Weeks), 20 Main St., Exeter, NH, 03833.



The following remembrance of William M. ("Mowry") Connelly was written by Chuck Mokriski as one entry in a Book & Snake Memorial Book. All eleven entries were read at a memorial service on September 8, 2007, in Greenwich, CT. This remembrance was inspired by Mowry's lifelong passion for Gilbert & Sullivan.

A Bright and Brassy Barrister

He was the very model of a bright and brassy barrister.
For judges and for juries he could make the courtroom merrier.
While precedents and precepts he took little time to ponder,
With family, friends and brothers, he would free his mind to wander.

About maritime marauding of the Monitor and Merrimack,
And midnight infiltration into Skull and Bones and back.
Midst our midnight, beery banter in the tomb of Charlie Ross,
Irreverent wit he wielded while the rest of us got sauced.

Go west, they said, and so he did, old Gotham to forsake;
En route to Cleveland suburbs where he promptly bought a rake.
A pumpkin patch he sowed each spring with keen anticipation,
But Mother Nature, that ornery wench, gave dwarfs and resignation.

With daughters, on the other hand, his nurture brought a bounty
Of stunning damsels, like their Mom, toast of Cayuga County.
In later years, his Memorial tours on Garfield conferred great fame,
As the 20th president's stature rose after years of George the lame.

The barrister now departed, his memory we hold most highly.
He's gone to look for the lost Charlie Ross, God bless his soul O'Reilly.