‘HOOSIERS WE’VE LOST:’ Connor always had positive outlook on life


Editor’s note: This is one of a continuing online series of profiles of the more than 12,000 Hoosiers who have died from COVID-19. The stories are from 12 Indiana newspapers, including The Republic, who collaborated to create the collection to highlight the tremendous loss that the pandemic has created. The series appears daily at therepublic.com.

Name: Patricia “Patty” Connor

City/Town: Indianapolis

Age: 86

Died: April 12

Patty Connor always had a positive outlook on life and was the type of person who was up for any activity.

While all the other moms at The Riviera Club avoided getting their hair wet, Connor never gave it a second thought, her children said. She was right there with her kids, doing flips in the pool and going down the slide.

She would play tennis and ride bikes with her children. At weddings, she danced the whole time.

When she was 83, her family had a kickball tournament for one of Connor’s daughter’s birthdays. Connor just had to go up to the plate and kick the ball, too.

“She was never too old to try something,” said Janet Kahler, one of her daughters.

Connor, a Catholic who graduated from St. Mary Catholic High School and St. Vincent Hospital School of Nursing, died at age 86 on Easter Sunday at American Village, days after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Connor’s life was book-ended by two holidays, a fitting nod to a woman who loved a celebration, according to two of her daughters. Born In Indianapolis on Dec. 31, 1933, Connor was named IndyStar’s Baby New Year.

In 1956, Connor married Lawrence “Bo” Connor after being set up on a blind date. Bo Connor was a longtime managing editor at IndyStar, and together the two of them seemed to know just about everyone.

Patricia Connor enjoyed attending the dinners her husband was invited to for work, but she also appreciated large dinners with her family. Altogether the couple had six children — Carolyn, Julia, Lawrence Jr., Maureen, Janet and Michael — plus 16 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

People, young and old, were drawn to the couple. Growing up, Kahler and her sister Maureen Stark said their friends would flock to their house and enjoy talking to their mom.

“She had lots of friends who were multi-generational,” Kahler said. “She never seemed like an old lady, or had just old lady friends.”

Connor and her husband also enjoyed traveling and oftentimes returned home with new friends. When the Connors went to Europe decades ago, they ended up befriending a tour guide who they stayed friends with until the ends of their lives.

“She looked on the bright side of everything. She had lots of friends because of that,” Kahler said. “People gravitated to her.”

Connor was diagnosed with pneumonia about 10 days before her death. The next week she was tested for coronavirus two separate times. Her positive results came back on Good Friday.

Her family knew she wasn’t doing well, but they weren’t able to visit. Instead, Stark, who lives in Indiana, would sit in the parking lot in tears and hope her mother could feel her presence.

On Easter Sunday, Maureen Stark said she left her mother some flowers and a note that read, “If it’s time for you to let go, we’re all here with you.”

Later when Stark would go to pick up her mother’s belongings, the note had been opened, so she assumes someone read it to her mother.

And with that blessing from her family, Connor died Easter evening. But her love for life will always be remembered.

— Contributed by the Indianapolis Star