Dengler, Roberts, Perna Funeral Home

3070 Delaware Avenue, Kenmore, NY


Joseph R. Connelly MD

September 26, 1914July 20, 2020
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Connelly, Joseph R. MD July 20, 2020, at the age of 105. husband of the late Beatrice W.; dear father of Joseph R. (Joan), Charles P. (Melanie), Kathleen (Linus) Walton, James R., Stephen (Carol) Connelly; also survived by 14 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. No prior visitation. Family and friends are invited to attend a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Benedict Church, 3980 Main Street, Eggertsville, Friday at 9:15 am. Burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery. Flowers gratefully declined. Memorials may be made in Dr. Connelly's name to Catholic Charities, 741 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, NY 14209. To live stream Dr. Connelly's mass, visit saintbenedicts.com Friday at 9:15. Condolences at www.denglerrobbertspernafuenral.com


  • Catholic Charities



  • Mass of Christian Burial

    Friday, July 24, 2020


  • No Prior Visitation


Joseph R. Connelly MD

have a memory or condolence to add?

Nancy Mulloy-Bonn

July 31, 2020

On behalf of my sisters and I, please accept our condolences. I have fond memories of Dr. Connelly overseeing the construction of the first of several front-lawn ice rinks, and, years later, driving Kathy and me to high school dances. Those were wonderful years, and Dr. and Mrs. Connelly made them all the more so. His service to our country and his profession is remarkable; his life was certainly well-lived.
Nancy Mulloy-Bonn

Michael Sandretto

July 27, 2020

Joe, So very sorry to hear of your Father's passing. May we all be so lucky as to have over a century of life and an original Mustang, as well as a wonderful family. I trust you and your family are well and that life continues to be fruitful for you. Sorry we didn't have the chance to catch up at the reunion a few summers ago. We'll keep him in our prayers. God bless - Mike Sandretto

Susan Quinlivan Geiger

July 25, 2020

Dr Connelly was a great partner and friend to my father for many decades. I have fond memories of peaking into their dinner parties or stopping to chat after mass at St Benedicts - hearing his booming voice and laugh. My father shared many stories highlighting of his quick Irish wit, his loyal friendship and his memorable antics. I remember them taking a bittersweet picture as the closed their practice in North Buffalo- each holding the weathered plaque with their names. Theirs was a great professional and personal partnership- we lost one of the great ones in Dr Connelly this week- but at last he can share a laugh and a cocktail with my dad in heaven.

Our deepest Condolences
Susie Quinlivan (Geiger)

Robert Travers

July 22, 2020

Joe was a wonderful gracious gentleman. A patriot who served his Country and attended to several US Presidents. Nobody told a story, could tell a joke or read a poem like Joe. Just a good man and a great guy. RIP Joe.

Robert Travers

July 22, 2020

Joe was a wonderful gracious man. A true patriot who served his Country and attended to several US Presidents. Nobody could tell a story, read a poem or tell a joke like Joe. A true gentleman and a good guy. RIP Joe.

John Buckley

July 21, 2020

Joe Connelly was an amazing man, Physician, father and teacher!!. He my chief of Plastic Surgery in Buffalo. I am proud to say I was the last resident to finish the program in 1986. He taught me much more than Surgery> I think of him fondly and often. My Condolences, John J. Buckley Jr MD.

Cherri Woods

July 21, 2020

To the Family of Joseph,
Sorry for your lost. Pray constantly. God understands how you feel at Ps. 34:18,19 it says God is close to the brokenhearted: he saves those who are crushed in spirit. God promises that the dead can live again found at Acts 24:15. "There is going to be a resurrection" Hope this brings comfort



September 26, 1914 - July 20, 2020

Joseph R. Connelly, M.D., 105 years, ship’s doctor, pioneering reconstructive plastic surgeon, hand surgeon, devout Roman Catholic, husband and father died of natural causes on July 20, 2020 at Canterbury Woods, Williamsville, N.Y. He was born in Perth Amboy, N.J. and grew up in Jersey City, N.J., where he graduated from St.Peter’s Grammar School, Lincoln High School and St. Peter’s College, Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Arts degree. At St. Peter’s, he was captain of the track team and at graduation, he was awarded the Philosophy Medal.

While attending Temple University Medical School, Philadelphia, PA, he met his future wife, the former Beatrice A. Weber, who was also a Temple medical student. They graduated in 1940 and were married in 1942 after the completion of their internships at Temple University Hospital.

After a residency in anesthesiology, Dr. Connelly entered the Naval Medical Corps in 1942 and was ordered to the U.S.S. Wadsworth (DD516), a Fletcher class destroyer just launched at the Bath Maine Iron Works and headed for the Pacific Theater. The Wadsworth and Lt.(jg) Connelly, the ship’s doctor, initially saw combat in the Solomon Islands, including Bougainville, Green Island, and the campaign to isolate and neutralize the Japanese naval base at Rabaul. Between major engagements, the Wadsworth performed radar picket duty, convoy escort duty, and submarine sweep duty in the “slot” of the Solomons. One moonlit night, the Wadsworth’s squadron of destroyers sailed north through the slot to “harass” Rabaul with nighttime bombardment. Dr. Connelly reminisced that the sight of the seven destroyers sailing in bright moonlight at 30 knots was a sight to behold. On the return trip, however, while still adhering to strict radio silence and no operating lights, the Wadsworth suddenly “lost suction” of her fuel oil and stopped dead in the water within the range of Japanese shore batteries. The other destroyers of the squadron dared not stop to assist her. Fortunately, power was eventually restored and the Wadsworth was underway. Dr. Connelly felt that normal duty “working the slot” was more than enough excitement for a lifetime, but sitting dead in the sea on a bright moonlit Pacific night within the range of Japanese shore batteries and submarines was perilous and terrifying . During the amphibious assault of Green Island, he landed at the beachhead in a landing craft to treat a stricken Marine. Combat action for Dr. Connelly aboard the Wadsworth continued, including the Battles of Saipan, the Philippine Sea, Guam, and Tinian, until December 1944 when his duty as her medical officer ended. At the completion of this sea duty, Dr. Connelly was awarded four campaign stars.

While stationed at Philadelphia Naval Hospital, Dr. Connelly completed general surgery and plastic surgery training and thereafter a one year fellowship in plastic surgery under William M. Adams, M.D. in Memphis, TN. He became a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons in 1949 and a Diplomat of the American Board of Plastic Surgery in 1952. He served as Assistant Chief of Plastic Surgery at the USN Hospital, Oakland, CA. Early in 1952, he was ordered to the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD, as Chief of Plastic Surgery, an appointment he held until his retirement from the Navy in
November 1963 at the rank of Captain. He was a member of the faculty of the USN Medical School and established the Navy’s first residency in plastic surgery.
Dr. Connelly treated numerous sailors and marines who were wounded during World War II, the Korean War and subsequent conflicts or who were seriously injured in industrial type accidents. He counted among his patients Fleet Admiral William Frederick “Bull” Halsey, Jr. While at the National Naval Medical Center, Dr. Connelly also treated many patients from the upper echelons of government. He was the first surgeon in history to
operate on a sitting president and a sitting vice-president, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. He also operated on Congressman Gerald Ford, who would become President, and Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield. He was appointed to a special medical team to plan for and treat the Project Mercury astronauts and was present at Cape Canaveral for the Project Mercury flight liftoffs. At retirement, he received a special
citation of merit from the Surgeon General and a special citation from the Commanding Officer of the Bethesda Naval Hospital.

Upon retirement from the Navy in 1963, Dr. Connelly moved to Buffalo with his family and formed a partnership for the practice of plastic surgery with John K.
Quinlivan, M.D. which lasted until Dr. Quinlivan’s retirement in 1986. Thereafter, he continued in solo practice. The partners established the first plastic surgery residency in Buffalo at Buffalo Mercy Hospital. He served as Chief of Plastic Surgery at Mercy Hospital, Our Lady of Victory Hospital and Sheehan Memorial Hospital. He was also on the staffs of several other area hospitals. He received Buffalo Mercy Hospital’s Distinguished Physician Award in1987 and a special commendation from Our Lady of Victory Hospital. Dr. Connelly’s contribution to medical literature was extensive, including coauthorship
of the text ”Plastic Surgery-A Concise Guide to Clinical Practice” and many published manuscripts, several of which were presented at national and international medical meetings.

He was a member of the American Association of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, the Northeastern Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Medical Association, the New York State and Erie County Medical Societies, the American Society for Cleft Palate Rehabilitation, and the Society of Plastic Surgeons of Upstate New York. He was a founding member and past president
of the Buffalo Plastic Surgical Society, and a founding member of the Robert H. Troy Plastic Surgeons.

Dr. Connelly was a life member of the Bishop’s Advisory Committee of the Diocese of Buffalo, a Knight Commander of the Association of Knights and Ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, and a past president of the Buffalo Chapter of the Catholic Physicians Guild.
Dr. Connelly enjoyed discussing politics and current events, reciting Shakespearean and Irish poetry, and was an accomplished pianist. He played tennis
weekly with longtime friends and enjoyed bodysurfing at the Jersey Shore. At family gatherings, he often reminisced about growing up in a working class neighborhood on the Hudson River waterfront, its colorful residents who worked on the river, and Jersey City’s rough-and-tumble politics where his father, a Republican, was the independently elected Street and Water Commissioner during the administration of Democratic Mayor Frank Hague.

Dr. Connelly’s wife, Beatrice W. Connelly, M.D. predeceased him in August 2009. He is survived by his children: Joseph R. (Joan), Charles P. (Melanie), Kathleen Walton (Linus), James R., Stephen (Carol), 14 grand children and 6 great-grandchildren, and numerous nephews and nieces.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered in St. Benedict Catholic Church, 3980 Main Street, Eggertsville on Friday July 24th, 9:15am Burial will be in Arlington
National Cemetery. Flowers gratefully declined, memorials in Dr. Connelly's name may be made to Catholic Charities, 741 Delaware Ave., Buffalo NY 14209. To livestream Dr. Connelly's mass Friday at 9:15am visit saintbenedicts.com

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