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James R. Connolly Obituary

Brought to you by Philip J. Brendese Funeral Home

James R. Connolly

Waterford, NY

July 11, 1944 - September 28, 2020

James R. Connolly Obituary

SELKIRK James R. “Coach” Connolly, 76, of Fairlawn Drive, died suddenly on Monday, September 28, 2020 while toiling in his backyard. Born in Albany, “Coach” was the son of the late Francis and Beatrice Connolly and brother of Rev. John F. Connolly. He graduated in 1962 from the Vincentian Institute. He attended Siena College and graduated in 1967. He was a proud alum of Siena and a season ticket holder for Siena basketball. Coach was a kind, charismatic teacher and track coach who left an indelible mark on generations of students and athletes at Cardinal McCloskey High School and Scotia-Glenville High School. He retired from Scotia as the Chair of the Business Department in 2006. Although he left the classroom after 40 years, he remained a dedicated track coach. After one year of retirement, he resumed coaching, this time, at Bethlehem Central High School. Coach was a lifelong suffering fan of the Brooklyn and then Los Angeles Dodgers. He has been waiting for “Next Year” for over 30 years so it is both tragic and ironic that he passed away a month before the Dodgers win the World Series. Coach officiated at the national level for track and field including the Olympic Trials. He was elected to the Cardinal McCloskey Bishop Maginn High School Alumni Association Sports Hall of Fame and the Scotia Glenville High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Coach was an exceptional husband and father. He and his wife, Karyn Perlman Connolly, celebrated 51 years of marriage in June. They loved travelling and spending their winters on the beach in St. Thomas, V.I. Coach loved watching and talking sports with his son and best friend Stephen Connolly and sons-in-law, Gordy Haupt and Joseph Balsamo. He cherished the time he spent with his daughters Meghan Connolly Haupt and Bekah Balsamo who both moved back to the area to spend time with him in recent years. He was adored by his daughter-in-law, Mollie Owens Connolly and his grandkids Jameson, Sawyer, Porter, Tatum, Baron and Ryan. A Memorial Mass will be offered at 9:30 AM Saturday at St. Vincent de Paul Church, 900 Madison Avenue, Albany. Due to COVID-19 guidelines, masks are required and seating is limited and on a first come basis. In support of social distancing, please visit to register your visitation in person. Relatives and friends are invited to raise a glass to Coach at the Bethlehem Town Park at 261 Elm Avenue, Delmar on Saturday, 12:00 - 3:00 PM. COVID guidelines will be in place. In lieu of flowers, contributions to a scholarship in the name of James Connolly can be sent via Venmo to @CoachConnollyScholarship. An annual award will be given to a Bethlehem track athlete with the grit and ethic Jim inspired in so many.

To share a memory or send a condolence gift, please visit the Official Obituary of James R. Connolly hosted by Philip J. Brendese Funeral Home.


Event information can be found on the Official Obituary of James R. Connolly.