Edward John Connolly, 83, of Hanson, Massachusetts, died Tuesday, May 5, 2020, surrounded by loved ones at his home after a brief illness. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1936, Ed was the oldest son of Mary Elizabeth Connolly and Michael Edward Connolly.
Ed attended high school at Boston College High, and received his BS from Boston College in English Literature and a Masters in Secondary Education from Boston State College (now UMass Boston). After receiving his Masters degree, Ed taught at the Massachusetts Hospital School in Canton, where he pioneered the use of closed-circuit television in teaching special education. Later, he taught at Boston College, and was program director for teachers of physically handicapped students.
He then joined the Massachusetts Department of Education where he was a central figure in the crafting and passage of Mass. General Law ch. 766, which was among the first laws in the country to ensure the inclusion and equal treatment of special education students in schools. After leaving the Department of Education, Ed took a position as Special Education Director for Chelsea schools. Later, he worked for several years at Ocean Spray Cranberries in Middleborough, Massachusetts.
Ed attended the now closed Jesuit Urban Center in Boston for many years, and through that connection became involved in consoling victims of the AIDS crisis and their loved ones throughout the late 80’s and 90’s.
Ed was a voracious reader of classic literature and philosophy, and a lifelong supporter of theater and the arts. For many years, he was a supporter of the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, and instilled that love of theater in all of his children.
Ed was a brilliant man with a reserved and irreverent sense of humor. He was a joy to be around and his smile, laugh and wit will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
Ed is survived by his wife of 50 years, Barbara Ann (Conners) Connolly. He is also survived by five children and their partners - John Edward Connolly, and daughter-in-law Anna-Marie (Fairhurst) Connolly, of Singapore, Michael Joseph Connolly and daughter-in-law Sunny (Hwang) Connolly, of Dallas, Texas, Rosemary Connolly and partner Randy Hill, of Whitman, Massachusetts, Thomas Connolly and daughter-in-law Erica Connolly, of Jamestown, Rhode Island, and William James Connolly and partner Emma Bloom, of Hanson and Brookline, Massachusetts; eight grandchildren - Jocelyn Connolly, Connor Thomas, David Connolly, Daniel Connolly, Benjamin Connolly, Magnolia Connolly, Fiona Connolly and Felix Connolly; and two sisters - Dorothy Connolly and Roberta Hafferty. He is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews and brothers and sisters-in-law.
He was predeceased by his granddaughter Elizabeth Connolly, and his brother Robert Connolly.
A service in his memory will be held at St. Joseph The Worker Church in Hanson, MA on Saturday September 19th, 2020 at 11 AM.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Edward's memory to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place
Memphis, TN 38105.
To share a memory or offer an online condolence to the family, please visit www.leightonmackinnon.com
Arrangements by Leighton-MacKinnon Funeral Home, 4 West Washington St., (Corner Rte. 58), Hanson, MA.
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