Joseph Michael “Mike” Connelly passed away on March 17, 2018. Mike was a “Mahatma,” a great soul. Mike will be sorely missed by all who had the good fortune to know him.
Mike was a unique and exceptionally kind-hearted character with a huge heart. He approached life on his terms. He found joy in shared conversations, songs sung, hugs shared, pianos, banjos and guitars played, and most importantly, friendships. Mike loved people.
Mike had many friends, all deeply treasured. He cherished time spent with them at local watering holes, especially Terry’s Office Tavern, where he could be found after long, daily walks with his beloved pups, Smokey and Wooferoo. To his extended family, he was much-loved “Uncle Mike,” who played piano, guitar and banjo with and for his many nieces and nephews. He particularly enjoyed spiriting them off after school for an occasional burger, shake or ice cream cone.
A multi-instrumental musician, and aspiring glass artist, who loved to create, Mike enjoyed playing the piano at the Mandolin Café and other venues around Tacoma, and rocked his electric guitar in a variety of bars and bands through the years. He particularly loved the blues and extended jams. Most recently, Mike had focused his energies on mastering a variety of picking styles on his steel banjo.
Mike created beautiful works of colored glass in his home kiln and gave them away to friends. He was an avid and eclectic reader who appreciated a wide range of ideas and loved nothing better than to talk about different ways of thinking and looking at the world. “You have to keep your mind open to possibilities,” he liked to say. He was a keen observer of human nature, a true listener, with a kind sense of humor, and he paid special attention to each person with whom he was interacting.
Mike was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, and grew up in Lakewood where he graduated from Lakes High School in 1977. At Lakes, he was an outstanding butterflyer, and captain of the Lancers swim team. He studied at Central Washington University and spent the majority of his working years as a carpenter.
Mike was preceded in death by his parents, Jack and Rosemary Connelly; and brother-in-law, Dan Snyder. He is survived by five siblings: Kathy Carrico, Maureen McPartland (Pat), Jack Connelly (Angela), Linda Snyder, and Tim Connelly (Wendy); 22 nieces and nephews, and 16 great-nieces and nephews.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated for Mike at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. followed by a reception, and burial service at Calvary Cemetery. Mike’s many friends are invited to “Raise a Mug to Mike” at Terry’s Office Tavern - 3410 N. Proctor St, Tacoma this Sunday, March 25, starting at 4:00 p.m. Please leave online condolences at www.gaffneycares.com. Arrangements by Gaffney Funeral Home, 253-292-9572.