James Edwin Conner, 80, Hutchinson

Published 10:26 am Monday, November 5, 2012

James Edwin Conner, 80, of Hutchinson, Minn., passed away Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, at St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee, Minn. A Memorial Service was held Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, at 1:30 p.m. at the Dobratz-Hantge Chapel in Hutchinson, with interment in the Woodbury Cemetery in Lyle Township, Mower County, Minn.

James E. Conner

James “Jim” Edwin Conner was born on Feb. 21, 1932, in Austin, Mower County, Minn. He was the son of James and Mary Elizabeth (Konecny) Conner. Jim was baptized as an infant and was later confirmed in his faith as a youth. He received his education in Lyle, Minn., and was a graduate of the Lyle High School Class of 1950. Jim furthered his education at the Junior Tech College in Austin, Minn. Jim entered active military service in the Army on Nov. 26, 1952, and served his country as a member of the 49th and the 149th Army Band during the Korean War. He received an Honorable Discharge on Nov. 10, 1954.

On Dec. 12, 1959, Jim was united in marriage to Janet Rappe at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Oelwein, Iowa. Jim and Janet resided in Austin, Minn. until 1972, when they moved to Hutchinson, Minn. Jim and Janet shared more than 52 years of marriage.

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Jim was a mechanic by trade and was an instructor at Ridgewater College in Hutchinson, Minn. He developed the first Public Motorcycle Mechanics Program in the state of Minnesota, and his program was rated as the best in nation in motorcycle magazines. He retired in 1997. Jim was a life-long Democrat and was active in the political party, particularly in his later years, and was a delegate in 2010 to District 7 Convention and then to the state convention.

Jim was a true Renaissance man, a very smart man, a man of many interests and lots of skills both with mechanical things and the written and spoken word. He was a true life-long learner and had an extensive vocabulary. He had the artist’s eye for beauty as demonstrated in his photographic work. Jim was a musician in the 49th and 149th Army Band when he served his country, and played a French horn. At that time, Vienna, Austria, was a four power city and he played in the honor guard when the power was transferred from the British to the U.S. and then again, when it was transferred from the U.S. to Russia. He saw himself on news reels and his band was featured in Life Magazine.

Jim had the enviable ability to walk in the other persons’ shoes and to communicate with people on every societal spectrum on the scale. He loved his fellow man as evidenced by his compassion for others. In his 80 years of life, he was an artist, a singer, a musician, an actor, an entertainer, “facilitator” for his Motorcycle Mechanics students and others who came to him for the knowledge that he possessed; an English Literature major in his college years and his continued interest in the new technologies (computers, networks, etc.). He had the rare quality of taking pride in his students’ accomplishments and was delighted if the student got to be better than he at the things Jim taught them. He was a gourmet chef and enjoyed cooking (and science involved with it) and spreading his talents to his friends and neighbors. He always enjoyed music and the theater.

It was demonstrated best by one of the ICU nurses who inquired “What did he do?” After hearing the above, he said “What didn’t he do?” He had a life fully lived and will be sorely missed by the people whose lives he touched in a positive way- and there are many.

Jim passed away Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, at St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee, Minn., at the age of 80 years.

Jim is survived by his: Wife, Janet Conner of Hutchinson, MN; Brother, Joseph Conner of Webster, WI; Brother-In-Law, William Rappe and his wife, Alice of Clear Lake, IA; Nephews, Mark Conner and his wife, Jenifer, Brad Conner and his wife, Julie, Stephen Anderson and his fiancé, Peka Christova, Scott Warrington and his wife, Nancy Eggert, Brian Warrington and his wife, Julie, Michael Warrington; Nieces, Anita Deyo, Gloria Warrington; Great Nephews and Nieces, Josh Conner, Brenden Conner, Sam Hiltner, Kathleen Warrington, Bridget Warrington, Macklin Warrington, Aaron Deyo, Tracy Tindal, Jason Deyo Many other relatives and friends.

Jim is preceded in death by his Parents, James and Mary Conner; Sisters, Marian Johnson, Kathleen Warrington, Gloria Mahacek; brothers-in-law, Darrel Anderson, Floyd Johnson, Lee Mahacek; Sister-In-Law, Mabel Conner.

Arrangements by the Dobratz-Hantge Chapel in Hutchinson, Minn. Online Obituaries and Guest Book available at www.hantge.com. Please click on Obituaries/Guest Book.