A year later, keeping Timmy's memory alive

Geor­gette Con­nors sooths her daugh­ters Alaina (left) and Char­lotte at her late son’s tree plant­ing ce­re­mony at Arch­bish­op Ry­an, one year after his death. Timothy Con­nors died in a car ac­ci­dent, Thursday, Mary 17, 2012, Phil­adelphia, Pa. (Maria Pouch­nikova)


The Arch­bish­op Ry­an High School com­munity last week re­membered Timothy Con­nors on the one-year an­niversary of his passing.

Con­nors, a 15-year-old fresh­man, died on the af­ter­noon of May 17, 2011, after be­ing hit by a car on busy Academy Road, out­side Ry­an.

In his memory, an oak tree was planted on the school lawn. The tree was donated by Aza­lea Gar­dens Land­scap­ing. The Rev. John Donia, the school min­is­ter, blessed the tree and offered a pray­er.

Mar­tin and Geor­gette Con­nors, Timothy’s par­ents, shoveled dirt on the base of the tree, and Mrs. Con­nors was giv­en red and white roses as a bag­piper played Amaz­ing Grace.

There were 15 red bal­loons in the shape of hearts and stars to mark Timothy’s age. There were also two Spi­der­m­an bal­loons — he was a big fan of the su­per­hero — one from each of his young­er sis­ters, 6-year-old Alaina and 3-year-old Char­lotte.

Among those in at­tend­ance were Ry­an pres­id­ent Mike McArdle, school prin­cip­al Helen Chaykowsky and John McNesby, pres­id­ent of Fraternal Or­der of Po­lice Lodge 5.

“It’s been very emo­tion­al and very hard to move for­ward every day, but this was very nice,” Timothy’s moth­er said.

Timmy, as he was known to fam­ily and friends, at­ten­ded Nativ­ity of Our Lord Ele­ment­ary School from pre-kinder­garten through sixth grade, then spent two years at Our Lady of Port Rich­mond after a neigh­bor­hood con­sol­id­a­tion of Cath­ol­ic schools. He loved design­ing com­ic books, writ­ing stor­ies, play­ing com­puter games, watch­ing ac­tion movies and spend­ing time with fam­ily and friends.

The Rev. Richard Con­nors, a pa­ro­chi­al vicar at Nativ­ity, re­membered Timmy’s hu­mor and tal­ent dur­ing the tree-plant­ing ce­re­mony. The Rev. Con­nors, no re­la­tion to the fam­ily, asked the young people to fol­low Timmy’s ex­ample.

“Go out and do a good deed, a good ac­tion, something that im­proves the world,” he said.

On Sat­urday night, a Mass was held at Nativ­ity to mark the an­niversary of Timmy’s death and to me­mori­al­ize the passing of oth­er chil­dren.

A Ry­an stu­dent, Tyler Ko­morowski, is plan­ning a whiffle ball tour­na­ment to raise money for the schol­ar­ship fund.

That’s the kind of sup­port the Con­nors fam­ily has re­ceived in the last year, start­ing with vi­gils on the two nights fol­low­ing Timmy’s death and a Mass in his memory at Ry­an. The Ry­an cheer­lead­ers sent the fam­ily a fruit bas­ket, and the soft­ball play­ers wore the ini­tials “TC” on their jer­seys. The fam­ily also re­ceived the sup­port of Ry­an par­ents and re­li­gious and lay staff and the emer­gency re­spon­ders from the fire and po­lice de­part­ments.

“It was a ripple ef­fect through every com­munity,” said Mar­tin Con­nors, a po­lice of­ficer.

Con­nors, who tied a red rib­bon around the tree and plans to in­stall a plaque, has be­come close to some of his son’s former class­mates.

“He was their friend, and they loved him,” he said. “The kids from the Class of 2014 have so much prom­ise in them.”

Ty­ee Chil­dress, one of those kids from the Ry­an Class of 2014, was in Timmy’s home­room. He felt the need to be at the tree-plant­ing ce­re­mony to hon­or the memory of someone who will al­ways be a part of the Class of 2014.

“He was a great guy to be around,” Ty­ee said.

Fel­low sopho­more Con­or Mc­Don­ald, who held the school flag dur­ing the ce­re­mony, was in Timmy’s math class.

“He was a happy kid,” Con­or re­called. “He loved this school. Every­body loved him. He’ll be missed a lot.”

Mar­tin Con­nors said his son wanted to be a car­toon­ist or a movie dir­ect­or, like George Lu­cas, Steven Spiel­berg or Mi­chael Crichton. The teen loved su­per­hero movies, and he and his dad saw Thor 10 days be­fore his death.

Mr. Con­nors, who writes a blog called “Forever 15” in trib­ute to his son, spoke of re­cently see­ing The Avengers.

“It was a crowded theat­er ex­cept one seat, the seat next to me throughout the whole movie,” he said. “I felt his pres­ence.”

Timmy’s moth­er has been busy rais­ing her two young daugh­ters, but her son is al­ways in her thoughts.

“He’s with me even though I can’t see him,” his moth­er said. “I’ll al­ways be his mom.” ••

Con­tri­bu­tions can be made to the Timothy Con­nors Me­mori­al Schol­ar­ship, 11201 Academy Road, Phil­adelphia, PA 19154.


You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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