SYRACUSE — John P. Connolly, 78, passed away Wednesday at Miller’s Merry Manor.
He was born Aug. 17, 1935 in Syracuse, to James and Catherine (Shenberger) Connolly. He was a lifelong area resident.
On Oct. 23, 1954, he married Shirley Hollar.
He retired from Chore Time Brock after 12 years as a material handler. He worked as a sales representative in the RV industry from 1970 to 1989; Syracuse Rubber from 1956 to 1970, starting out as a laborer and later working his way up to quality control, estimator and purchasing agent with Cambridge Homes.
He was a 1953 graduate of Syracuse High School. He served his country as a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps Signal Detachment. He attended EMT School in Huntington and attended ACME Tech Trade School in Fort Wayne. He was a trained firefighter and became the first EMT in Kosciusko County.
He was instrumental in orchestrating and obtaining the first ambulance in Syracuse in 1972 and served with the Syracuse Emergency Medical Service from 1960 to 1989. He served as a volunteer on the Syracuse Fire Department.
He was a member of St. Andrews United Methodist Church, where he was on the original committee that named and built the church. He was one of the original Red Coats at Goshen Hospital and received a 100-Hour Pin for his volunteer work. He served on the Kosciusko County Board of Zoning Appeals. He served on the Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum Board. He founded and maintained a marker program for fallen firefighters from the town of Syracuse. He was a member of both the Syracuse American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, where he served on the honor guard.
He enjoyed walking, cutting and selling firewood.
John is survived by his wife, Shirley Connolly, Syracuse; daughter, Susan Reiff, Whitestown; son, Gary Connolly, Nappanee; three grandsons, Lucas Reiff, Caleb Reiff and Jonathan Connolly; brother, James (Linda) Connolly, Bloomington; and a sister, Julie (Ralph) Eggleston of Arizona.
He was preceded in death by his mother and father.
Calling will take place Sunday from noon until the 3 p.m. service at Eastlund Funeral Home, Syracuse. The Rev. Ed Beadle of St. Andrews United Methodist Church will officiate.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Syracuse Fire Department, St. Andrews United Methodist Church or to the Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum.
Eastlund Funeral Home, Syracuse, is handling arrangements. Online condolences may be shared at eastlundfuneralhome.com.