William Nelson Connelly

William Nelson Connelly, affectionately known as Bill, passed away peacefully on June 18, 2023, in Alpena, MI, just five days shy of his 85th birthday. Born on June 23, 1938, in Columbiaville, MI, Bill was the son of the late Nicholas and Florence (Pollard) Connelly.

Bill is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Shirley (Moran) Connelly, whom he married on March 15, 1963. Together, they raised a beautiful family, including their daughters Cherie (Glen) Gilbert and Cathy Harrington. Bill took great pride in his eight grandchildren: Heidi (Jon) Heinl, Paul Gilbert, Kyle Harrington, Chad Harrington, Evan Harrington, T.J. (Katie) Colgan, and Andrew Colgan, as well as his eight great-grandchildren. In addition to his immediate family, Bill is survived by his brother Charles (Judy) Connelly, sister Liz Jenkins, several nieces and nephews, and his close feline companion, Sammy the cat. He was preceded in death by his sons Timothy Colgan and Nicholas Connelly, his sister Pat Shaw, and his brother-in-law Lloyd Shaw.

A high school graduate, Bill enlisted in the US Navy shortly after completing his education. Following his time in the service, he began his career as an orthotist, working alongside his father in the Eaton Rapids area. Eventually, Bill made his way north to work for Wright and Filippis and later retired from Teter Orthotics in Alpena. Throughout his career, Bill was known for his dedication, professionalism, and the genuine care he provided to his patients.

Bill was a man of many interests and talents. He was an avid hunter and a proud member of the National Rifle Association. His love for the outdoors extended to his passion for gardening, where he cultivated beautiful flowers and bountiful vegetables each year. Bill was an accomplished woodworker, crafting stunning jewelry boxes that will be cherished by those lucky enough to possess one. He also had a creative side, often expressing himself through poetry. Bill’s curiosity led him to become an avid camera collector, always excited to find a new addition to his collection.

Above all else, Bill was a loving, handy, and kind man. He was always willing to lend a helping hand or offer a kind word to those in need. His love for his family was evident in the time and care he devoted to them, and his legacy will live on through the many lives he touched.

Bill’s family and friends will remember him as a man who could do anything he set his mind to, a testament to his determination and resourcefulness. They will miss his warm smile, gentle nature, and unwavering love. The world is a little less bright without Bill in it, but his memory will live on in the hearts of those who knew and loved him.

A celebration of Bill’s life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, July 14, 2023, at Skinner Funeral Home, Eaton Rapids chapel. The family will receive Bill’s family and friends one hour prior to the service to gather, share stories, laughter, and tears in honor of a life well-lived. Following the service, a memorial reception will be held at Skinner Funeral Home.