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Christopher P. Connolly

1930(?) – February 24, 2008

Hampton Union, Friday, February 29, 2008

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON — It is with reverence and sadness that the Robert K. Gray Jr. Funeral Home remembers a loyal and devoted friend, Christopher P. “Bucky” Connolly. He was a longtime contributor to the facility, offering both moral support and his consummate optimism.

Bucky first made himself known while the funeral home was in the planning stages. In his signature style, Bucky appeared, introducing himself and offering words of encouragement. This show of support was the beginning of a long-standing friendship as his visits continued during the construction of the facility up to the present day. A visit from Bucky was always welcomed as he could be counted on to share his trademark optimism in his own unique style. His succinct and colorful, sometimes even “off color” messages, had a way of always ringing true all while his delivery simultaneously offered an entertainment value.

A true raconteur, we at the funeral home greatly enjoyed his daily visits. Stopping by for a cup of tea to share the news of the day became part of the quotidian and he always brought with him a positive outlook. Whether he was on his way to his dialysis appointment or he was feeling under the weather, we were never privy; he always shared an aura of encouragement and hope. His visits were never long yet they were always tremendously enjoyable and uplifting.

In recent years, when his health permitted, Bucky took on the role of “Official Greeter” at the Robert K. Gray Jr. Funeral Home. This was a wonderful opportunity for Bucky and he took to his new role beautifully. Playing upon his tremendous people skills, it gave him a chance to reconnect with friends and acquaintances.

Bucky’s mantra: “People Helping People” was truly the motto by which he lived his life. That being said, even Bucky needed help from time to time. Through good times and bad, his wife, Gayle, stood by him and saw to it that he had what he needed. Bucky’s health issues were complex yet through his wonderful attitude and the support of his loving wife, he could retain a semblance of normalcy. Gayle’s gifts of love, attention, time and caring allowed Bucky to maintain his lifestyle until the very end. What a tremendous gift that Gayle shared in giving of herself. Gayle looked out for her Bucky fiercely and these gestures of love were always very special to witness. Whether calling the funeral home on a snowy night of a wake to tell us that Bucky was on his way or picking him up when it had been a long evening, the devotion and love was always apparent. They had shared a lifetime together and it was clear that no words were needed.

Truly a source of happiness for dear Bucky was his family. His only daughter, Gayle, was certainly his pride and joy and this only grew upon the arrival of his two grandchildren, Emily and Owen. Weekends that included a visit from Gayle, Claudio and the children were truly sacred. He especially loved their unique personalities and reveled in playfully teasing them. Spending time with his family was always welcomed and he always shared these stories with a smile.

Bucky was truly a survivor and undertook life’s hurdles one at a time. The dialysis that had become his lifeline was looked upon as a job and he never complained. Bucky knew his limitations yet always found a way to get the job done whatever that job may have been. He truly believed that when one door closes, another door opens, and this optimism took him far in life. Bucky could have easily focused on everything that was going wrong yet he got up every morning and focused on the world around him. In true “People Helping People” spirit, he embraced our cause at the funeral home and looked to help anyone in his path who needed support. A true philanthropist to his community and his friends, he shared his time, energy and optimism generously.

We are honored that Bucky’s au revoir is taking place at the Robert K. Gray Jr. Funeral Home. We were his “cause celebre” and it is only fitting that we assist in saying goodbye. May Bucky know just how much his support meant and just how much his unique personality and humor will be missed.

You’ll be down later, Bucky? Yeah, yeah … half past, Robert.

SERVICES: Family and friends are invited to call Friday, Feb. 29, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Robert K. Gray Jr. Funeral Home, 24 Winnacunnet Road, Hampton.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, March 1, at 11 a.m. in St. Theresa Church, 820 Central Road, Rye Beach. Interment will follow in High Street Cemetery, Hampton.

Arrangements are by the Robert K. Gray Jr. Funeral Home, 24 Winnacunnet Road, Hampton, NH 03842.

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