Ronald J. Connolly, 78, of Dubuque, formerly of Epworth, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family Thursday, Oct. 29, at Hawkeye Care Center in Dubuque.
Visitation for Ron was held from 4-8 p.m., Monday, Nov. 2, at the Reiff Funeral Home in Epworth, where the Epworth Fire Department met in body at 6:30 p.m.
Mass of Christian burial for Ron was held at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 3, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Epworth, with Rev. Michael Schueller presiding. Lectors were Karen Kluesner and Rick Knapp. Eucharistic Minister was Mary Knapp. Placing of the pall was done by Lynn Connolly, Kevin Connolly, Kurt Connolly, Kyle Connolly and Keith Connolly.
Burial was held in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Epworth, with full military honors afforded by the American Legion John White Post #650 and the Epworth Fire Department who presented the Striking of the Four Five.
Honorary pallbearers for Ron were: Kenny McDermott, Neal McDermott, Dorrance McDermott, Ron Horsfield and Jim Dougherty.
Casaketbearers for Ron were: Dan Lawler, Luke Soppe, Adam Connolly, Steve Schilling, Jerry McAuliffe and Steve Silker.
Ron was born May 25, 1942, in Worthington, son of Merlin and Jean (Wilkinson) Connolly. He grew up on a farm in Placid. Ron received his education from, and was one of the last graduating classes of, the former Epworth High School in 1960. On Aug. 3, 1963, he was united in marriage to Mary Alice Wilgenbusch at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Epworth. She proceeded him in death March 18, 2005. On Nov. 8, 2008, he married Linda “Lynn” Kramer at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Dubuque.
Ron was a Veteran, having served in the United States Army in Vietnam during the years of 1966 to 1968.
He was employed at Flynn Ready Mix for 50 years until his retirement. Ron was an outdoorsman. Ron enjoyed camping, gardening, hunting, and fishing. All are qualities he has passed on to his children, although they are not very good at it. In October of 2019, Ron was privileged to be chosen to go on the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight.
He was a member of St. Anthony Parish in Dubuque, and a former member of St. Patrick’s Parish in Epworth. He was also a member of the Epworth American Legion John White Post #650, and the Epworth Fire Department for 32 years, from which he retired as a captain. Ron had a strong love for his Epworth Community, where he volunteered to help coach the Epworth Little League Baseball team. He also served on various boards including both the civic and conservation organizations in Epworth. He also took part in several different clubs including Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, the Iowa Ready Mix Association and the Dubuque Home Builders Association, where he served as a social director and received the Ron Smith Lifetime Achievement Award. Ron truly loved making and serving his famous Bloody Marys, whether it be for a Hawkeye Tailgate or as the social director for the Dubuque Home Builders Association.
In Ron’s recent years, he and Lynn loved to travel and visited many countries, including Ireland.
He is survived by his wife Lynn; four children: Kevin (Melissa) Connolly of Farley, Kurt (Carrie) Connolly of Overland Park, Kan., Kyle (Kim) Connolly of Des Moines and Keith (Candy) Connolly of Epworth; two step-children, Jeff (Amy) Kramer of McFarland, Wis., and Jody (Patrick) Petersohn of Overland Park, Kan.; 12 grandchildren: Luke Soppe, Adam, Elli and Maria Connolly, Sophia, Margaret, William and Isabella Connolly, Grace and James Connolly, Liam and McKinlee Connolly; four step-grandchildren: Brady, Claire, Maria, and Mia; one great-grandson, Waylon Soppe; three sisters: Madlyn Schilling of Peosta, Doris (Ron) McAuliffe of Key West and Marla Baumgartner of Peosta; brothers and sisters-in-law: Bill Lawler of Peosta, Doris Wessels of Epworth, Cheryl (Bob) Hird of Dubuque, Tom (LaVonne) Wilgenbusch of Epworth, Dan (Connie) Wilgenbusch of Epworth, Steve (Janet) Wilgenbusch of Antioch, Tenn., Diane (Rick) Tuominen of Cedar Rapids, Bob (Patricia) Rolwes of Epworth, Mary (Rick) Knapp of Dubuque and Gary (Brenda) Rolwes of Epworth.
He is also preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Joan Lawler; brothers-in-law, Jim Schilling, Willis Wilgenbusch and Phil Wessels; sister-in-law, Marge (Dennis) Zimmer; and one nephew, Kevin Lawler.
The family would like to give a special thank you to the staff at Hawkeye Care Center, and Hospice of Dubuque, for all the wonderful care and support they gave to Ron.
In Lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the Epworth American Legion John White Post #650, the Epworth Fire Department, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Epworth and St. Anthony Catholic Church in Dubuque, in memory of Ron.
Anyone wishing to send memorials may send them to the Reiff Funeral Home, Attn: Ronald Connolly Family, PO Box 99, Farley, Iowa, 52046. If you would like to view a video tribute or send online condolences to the family, please visit our website at www.reifffuneralhomeinc.com.