Sean M. Connelly
October 29, 1982 to July 12, 2021
It doesn't feel real - and it is not right - that we must say that Sean Connelly has died. He was found on July 12 after dying suddenly from a heart problem. He did not suffer. He was 38 years old.
Sean was a son, brother, nephew, cousin, and friend. He prioritized family again and again. Being there for people mattered to him.
Sean dedicated himself to many organizations throughout his life: The Spring Garden Waldorf School alumni, the boy scouts, the marching band, Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, and GOJO Industries, where he worked for more than a decade.
Two other, far less organized organizations claimed him too: the Connelly and Fry families, who loved him so very much.
Sean mixed a stubborn streak as wide as the Mississippi with an affability that set people at ease. Although he wasn't an open book, Sean was an excellent listener and an expert counselor who expressed his love by showing up when his people needed him.
Sean was a witty conversationalist and a gentle smartass. He had a sharp and curious mind. He wasn't religious, but Sean was more moral than many churchgoers. And fundamentally kind.
Sean grew up in a sea of cousins, aunts, and uncles on both sides of his family. As a baby, he won their hearts. They loved and nurtured him, and thrilled in his success.
From Kindergarten to 8th grade, Sean attended Spring Garden Waldorf School, which was more than just a grade school. It was an extended family, a foundry for lifelong friendships, fertile ground for an inquisitive, analytical mind. It's where he learned to love nature, he said. At the beginning of July, he joined the school's board of trustees. He was excited and honored to give back.
At Firestone High School, he loved many of his classes - and barely showed up for the ones that bored him. His greatest passion there was playing in the drumline of the marching band. It was one of the best in the state when he was there. He would've told you that he was a very good drummer.
A boyhood spent scouting shaped Sean. When he crossed over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts at age eleven, he declared it "the best day of my life." He found many more "best days" later.
Before his 18th birthday - just before - Sean earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest offered by Scouts BSA (formerly the Boy Scouts of America). The only Connelly in his generation to achieve that honor, he made his grandfather Bob terribly proud.
A political science major at Ohio University, Sean was obsessed with politics. He followed the blow by blow the way he followed sports. It was never unclear where he stood. He paid attention out of a sense of civic duty, and dearly wanted a country that lived up to his standards.
Sean loved OU, loved being part of Lambda Chi Alpha, and did his best to uphold the college's reputation as a top party school. He also learned Spanish, studied in Mexico, and travelled in Europe.
After college, Sean only ever worked at one place: GOJO Industries. He found ways to grow, was challenged, and rewarded with new responsibilities and regular promotions. He thrived there; his friends and mentors helped him feel like GOJO was home.
For a guy who could be shy, Sean found friends everywhere. His friends and his family will miss him dearly.
The universe is now less than it was.
Sean was preceded in death by his grandparents, Hal and Anne Fry and Bob and Lib Connelly. Sean is survived by his parents, Mike and Betsy Connelly; brother, Chris (Bret Jaspers); and sister, Kati (Mel Miller).
The family will receive friends Friday, 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, 1 to 3 p.m. at the Anthony Funeral Home, 1990 S. Main St. Akron, Ohio 44301.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday at 3 p.m. at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Sean's name to Spring Garden Waldorf School in Copley, Ohio, or to BSA Troop One in Akron, or a charity that reflects his values.
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