Dan and Hannah and Their Connection to the Viral Obituary of the Year (Part 1 of 2)

Perhaps you have seen the online obituary of York (Maine) resident Chris Connors, a man who lived a full, full life.  As locals for the last 35 years, Hannah and I never knew him but do have connection to the Connors family that I will fill you in on later.

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If you haven’t read the obituary of Chris Connors (67), here are excerpts.  I can’t give you the whole obituary because it is no longer on Legacy.com.  The website says, We’re sorry, but this page is not available.  The error has been reported to our site, and our best people are investigating.   Hmmm.  I’m guessing the website crashed because of so many hits.

Irishman Dies from Stubbornness, Whiskey

Chris Connors died, at age 67, after trying to box his bikini-clad hospice nurse just moments earlier.  Ladies’ man, game slayer, and outlaw, Connors told his last inappropriate joke on Friday, December 9, 2016, that which cannot be printed here.  Anyone else fighting ALS and stage 4 pancreatic cancer would have gone quietly into the night, but Connors was stark naked drinking Veuve in a house full of friends and family as Al Green played from the speakers.  The way he died is just like he lived: he wrote his own rules, he fought authority, and he paved his own way. And if you said he couldn’t do it, he would make sure he could.

Chris enjoyed cross dressing, a well-made fire, and mashed potatoes with lots of butter. His regrets were few, but include eating a rotisserie hot dog from an unmemorable convenience store in the summer of 1986.

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As much as people knew hanging out with him would end in a night in jail or a killer screwdriver hangover, he was the type of man that people would drive 16 hours at the drop of a dime to come see. He lived 1000 years in the 67 calendar years we had with him because he attacked life; he grabbed it by the lapels, kissed it, and swung it back onto the dance floor.

At the age of 26, he hoped to circumnavigate the world but spent 40 hours on a life raft off the coast of Panama; in 1974 he started the Quincy Rugby Club; in his 30s, he was stabbed in New York while saving a woman who was being mugged; and at 64, he climbed to the base camp of Mount Everest.

Most people thought he was crazy for swimming in the ocean in January; for being a skinny Irish Golden Gloves boxer from Quincy, Massachusetts; for dressing up as a priest and then proceeding to get into a fight at a Jewish deli.  Many gawked at his start of a career on Wall Street without a financial background – but instead with an intelligent, impish smile, love for the spoken word, irreverent sense of humor, and stunning blue eyes that could make anyone fall in love with him.

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Sailor at heart

Throughout his life, he was an accomplished hunter and birth control device tester (with some failures, notably Caitlin Connors, 33; Chris Connors, 11; and Liam Connors, 8).  He was a rare combination of someone who had a love of life and a firm understanding of what was important – the simplicity of living a life with those you love.  Although he threw some of the most memorable parties during the greater half of a century, he would trade it all for a night in front of the fire with his family in Maine.

Written by his daughter Caitlin and cousin Liz Connors, Caitlin told the Boston Globe that they knew the obituary had to do him justice, writing every story they could remember and more after a few drinks.

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A Celebration of Life in memory of Connors will be held Dec. 19 during Happy Hour at the York Harbor Inn.  Those looking to pay tribute for Connors are asked to pay the open bar tab or donate to Connors’ water safety fund... (Already $10,000 has been raised!)

From the York Weekly    Click here for the full article.

…YORK, Maine – When Caitlin Connors sat in front of a fire last weekend, to write her father’s obituary, she followed his instructions to make it funny, but didn’t anticipate it would be shared globally.

The obituary for Chris Connors, with the headline “Irishman dies from stubbornness, whiskey,” has been “shared and shared” through social media, his daughter said. Before Barstool Sports, Boston Magazine, Men’s Health and the Boston Globe made stories about the tribute she wrote for her dad, Connors said his family was expecting 150 to 200 friends to attend a celebration of his life Monday at the York Harbor Inn.

“Now that it’s viral,” she said, the family plans to contact the York Police Department for a security detail. The obituary was published on Seacoastonline, in the Portsmouth Herald and the York Weekly.

“He would’ve loved it,” said Connors’ widow, Emily Connors. “He would’ve laughed.  He’s definitely looking down at us.”

When he was on hospice, a friend of the family, who is just as crazy, was bikini-clad when she would help administer his medication,” Caitlin Connors said.

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His wife Emily, the mother of young Chris and Liam, was a student of mine in teacher education at the University of New England.  Simply, for three semesters it was clear that she was the kind of person you would like your own kids to have as a teacher.   Since then, we see her upbeat self about town and at our gym in Kittery.  I had no idea what life must have been like living with Chris.

As reported above, there is a celebration of Chris’s life at the York Harbor Inn, just a few miles from our house.  Hannah and I are going to stop by later today.  Not for a drink in a crowded bar or to tell stories about Chris (whom we never met), but to give Emily a hug.  If that doesn’t happen and I’m not sure it will given the publicity around the “viral obituary,” we have an envelope for her with an invitation for coffee at a local café, the Crumb, here in town come January, when the circus dies down.

Part II of this blog will be the story of us going to the York Harbor Inn today at 4P.

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But this obituary does raise questions for us all, have we lived life fully?  What amazing things are we going to make happen in our lives in the coming year?  Three years?  What choices are we going to make to create the most of our lives?

Perhaps some clarity will begin to emerge for me tomorrow at the York Harbor Inn overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

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