James Lee Connor

James  Lee Connor
World Trade Center

Golf Paved His Way

You always knew the precise moment when James L. Connor had decided that he liked you. He gave you a nickname. His wife, Jamie, was "Little." A brother-in- law was "Hitter." His youngest son, Jack, 4, rated two nicknames, "Mooshie" and "Buddha." His mother, Ruth Ann, was simply "R.A."

"If he had a nickname for you," his sister, Cathy Dodge, said, "he loved you and that was his way of expressing it."

Looking back, Mrs. Dodge said, it is now clear that golf, one of his great passions, was a "guiding force" in his life ‹ the providential ingredient that nudged him in the direction of both his future wife and a successful career in investment banking. By caddying at the North Hempstead Country Club he came to the attention of a Bear Stearns executive who gave him his start in the business. And by attending the College of William and Mary, where he played on the golf team, he met his wife.

Mr. Connor, 38, of Summit, N.J., was a partner at Sandler O'Neill & Partners on the 104th floor of 2 World Trade Center. But he loved to take his clients for a round of golf. Sometimes he even gave them nicknames.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 23, 2001.

James Connor, golfer with gift of gab

A native Long Islander who grew up cheering for the New York Rangers, James Lee Connor was reluctant to switch to New Jersey Devils worship six years ago when he moved with his young family to Summit.

Eventually, his wife, Jamie Connor, a devoted Devils' fan, convinced him to purchase a pair of season tickets for her birthday -- just in time for the squad's championship run in 2000. Now a poster-sized photo of Mr. Connor's 7-year-old son Jimmy posing with the Stanley Cup hangs in their basement, cherished by the family as Mr. Connor's prized possession.

Mr. Connor, 38, a partner at the investment banking firm Sandler O'Neill, was working on the 104th floor of Two World Trade Center when catastrophe struck the financial center.

"He was a very loyal friend, fun-loving and outgoing," his wife said. "We were best friends. We laughed all the time."

Mr. Connor was known by friends and colleagues for his skill on the golf course, his sparkling wit and his devotion to his sons, Jimmy and Jack, 4.

"He was a true character with the gift of gab," said Brian Reilly of Manhasset, Long Island, Mr. Connor's best friend since their days at Chaminade High School in Mineola.

After graduating in 1985 from the College of William and Mary in Virginia, where he and his wife met, Mr. Connor went to work for Bear Stearns in New York. He left the company in 1989, to join Sandler O'Neill, a place where Mr. Connor built his reputation selling securities and showcasing his talents on the golf course.

Mr. Connor was a junior champion golfer on Long Island, and spent many Saturday mornings on the links at the Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit.

"Jimmy was an excellent golfer," said Fred Price, Sandler O'Neill's chief operating officer. "He used golf as a part of his business, and his clients really enjoyed watching him play."

In addition to his wife and sons, Mr. Connor is survived by his parents, Ruth Ann and Jim Connor of Cutchogue, N.Y.; his sister Cathy Dodge, nephews and nieces and other relatives.

Mr. Connor quietly supported numerous charities and educational foundations, and his family has established a golf scholarship in his name at the College of William and Mary. Details about the fund will be posted on Sandler O'Neill's Web site: www.sandleroneill.com .

A memorial service will be held at 12 p.m. on Oct. 13 at St. Teresa of Avila Roman Catholic Church in Summit.

Profile by Dore Carroll published in THE STAR-LEDGER.

View/Sign Guest Book  |   E-mail this Tribute

Search Site »
Home | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact Us
© Copyright 1999-2020 Legacy.com All Rights Reserved