Joseph Thomas Connolly, Jr.
February 18, 1944 – August 23, 2019
CONNOLLY, Joseph Thomas Joseph Thomas Connolly Jr., age 75, of St. Simons Island, Georgia, passed away on August 23, 2018, surrounded by his family and friends. Tom was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 18, 1944, and raised in suburban Philadelphia where he attended Malvern Preparatory School. Upon graduation from Malvern, Tom attended Georgetown University in the School of Foreign Service where he had many friends. During his college years, he figured out how to work hard and play hard and thus did well in school and was the life of the party. He met the love of his life Gay Blum while in college. Upon graduation from Georgetown in 1966, Tom entered the US Army Officer Candidate School in 1968 where he was a First Lieutenant in the Armored Division training Vietnam bound troops in Leesville, Louisiana. In January 1969, Tom married Gay Blum of Cincinnati, Ohio. Gay and Tom lived in Cincinnati and briefly in New York and Philadelphia where they had sons Tommy in 1971 (Cincinnati), Ryan in 1973 (Philadelphia), and Colin (Cincinnati) in 1976. After Cincinnati, Tom and his family moved to Kansas City, Kansas to continue advancing Tom’s radio broadcasting management career. In Kansas City, he found his country roots when he took over management of WDAF 61 Country and began performing his world-famous karaoke rendition of Fats Dominoes’ hit song “Kansas City” that he went on to perform at many a wedding. While in Kansas City, Gay and Tom had their fourth and final son Patrick who was born in 1982. From Kansas City, the family moved on to Atlanta, Georgia in 1985 where Tom became the rock ’n’ roll king of Atlanta when he took over the reins of the legendary 96 Rock. Tom’s dedicated “employees first” management style won over the hearts and minds of many radio personalities, management personnel, and broadcasting icons during his years at the helm of 96 Rock. His arrival in Atlanta coincided with Starship’s release of the legendary song “We Built this City”, which became the theme song for 96 Rock and all of Atlanta during the end of the golden era of classic rock ’n’ roll. In 2002, Gay and Tom relocated to St. Simons, Island, Georgia where Tom realized his lifelong dream of becoming a Salty Dog and living where he was at his happiest…on the water in the sun. Tom will be dearly missed but he will never be forgotten. He was a one of a kind. Tom is survived by his wife Gay of St. Simons Island, Georgia; his son and daughter in law Tommy and Page Connolly of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida; his son and daughter in law Ryan and Rachel Connolly of Atlanta, Georgia; his son and daughter in law Colin and Aimee Connolly of Atlanta, Georgia; his son and daughter in law Patrick and Erin Connolly of Atlanta Georgia; his brother and sister-in-law Richard and Margaret Connolly of Williamsburg, Virginia; and grandchildren Caldwell and Caitlin Connolly (Ponte Vedra Beach, FL), Wyatt and Vivian Connolly (Atlanta, GA), Connor and Bridget Connolly (Atlanta, GA), and Hunter and Annie Connolly (Atlanta, GA). He is preceded in death by his parents Joseph Thomas Connolly and Mary Louise Maloney Connolly and his brother Jerry Connolly.
A memorial service will be held at St. William Catholic Church, 2300 Frederica Road, St. Simons Island, GA 31522 on Monday, August 26th at 10:30 AM, with a reception following thereafter at Tramici Restaurant on St. Simons. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Tom's honor to the Hospice of the Golden Isles.
- Funeral Mass Monday, August 26, 2019
Joseph Thomas Connolly, Jr.
August 27, 2019
Tom Connolly was one of great radio managers in the history of Taft Broadcasting, Great American Broadcasting and Citicasters.
Everywhere he managed, his people loved him and would run through walls for him. Each operation he oversaw whether it was as General Sales Manager at WKRC-AM, General Manager of WDAF in Kansas and more importantly Atlanta' 96 Rock, improved its performance under his watch.
Tom always delivered results and had a heck of a lot of fun doing so. His street smart sales instincts were in unmatched in Atlanta radio
RIP Tom Connolly. Thanks for a ton of terrific memories.
Gay and family, you have our sympathy and love.
August 26, 2019
Tom, will be missed. I've enjoyed seeing him at Nazaro's or other places on the island. He was a catalyst in the building of the Career Academy and we are grateful for that. He always had an abundance of energy and will be missed. We have lost a great community person and even a better man.
With deepest sympathy,
August 26, 2019
I had the privilege of working for Tom for 7 years at 96rock in Atlanta, which still rank among my very best memories in broadcasting and in life. Tom was a terrific, supportive manager and brought out the best in people. I'll never forget one night in March of 2003 we were eating dinner at the Buckhead Diner when news broke that the US just bombed Iraq. I said to Tom, Gay and my wife, I should head to the radio station to cover this and Tom said, "I'm going to have another drink!" You will me missed Tom.
August 25, 2019
To Gay, Tommy, Colin, Ryan, & Patrick
I will always remember Tom as a warm, bright & loving man ... taken too soon ... his big heart & wonderful sense of humor never to be forgotten
May his memory be a blessing
With my love for you all,
Mary Ellyn Lashbrook
August 25, 2019
To Gay and family,
There is no right way to express grief or loss.. Talking, laughing and sharing all the fond memories of your years together will become a comfort in the months and years ahead.
The boys and I send our love and deepest sympathies to you and the family.
I can hear Tom’s laugh as I write this.... he was a great guy... Always enjoyed our fun times together. Tom’s love for you and your family will shine forever.
James, Patrick, William, Peter and Michael.