Deceased June 2, 2011
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Most of his fellow students will remember the lively magic shows and incredible card tricks that Owen Connolly provided during his four years at Amherst. His showmanship and winning smile cleverly concealed how he managed his sleight of hand maneuvers. That he was a mathematics major, participated in freshman track and pledged, but did not join Chi Phi, paled beside his role as an entertainer who also performed for the Hall of Magic during his college years.
His promotional skills led to a career as a sales and business consultant and contributed to his winning several awards for sales and sales management and inclusion in Who’s Who in Finance and Business. Behind his exuberant exterior, however, lurked a more lonely and troubled reality. In our 50th reunion book, Robert or Bob, as he now wanted to be called, highlighted his “extraordinary recovery from chronic alcoholism and major depression.” From the late 1970s to his death on June 2, 2011, he was primarily self-employed as a business consultant and advisor to other individuals who needed to overcome personal obstacles to have successful careers.
In his last message for class notes Robert praised our “awesome” reunion book despite noting that he had never “been to any school reunion.” He reported that he had lost most of his eyesight in October 2009 and was surviving economically “with a lot of help from my friends,” due to “choices made and priorities chosen.”
John Bookwalter had been in regular contact with Robert and met with him during a medical convention trip to Las Vegas several years ago. John reports that “Robert’s dedication to AA had earned him widespread local respect and the nickname "Twelve Step Bob" His looks and demeanor were just as at Amherst and instantly recognizable after a 40 year hiatus. Robert remained enthusiastic and uncomplaining. He died suddenly and peacefully at his apartment in Las Vegas from a heart attack during the night.”