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CONNER, HOOT "TINY" Born in Wheeling, West Virginia, September 9, 1935, graduated to heaven April 11, 2010. Hoot is survived by his Darlin' Norma, daughter Lesa and her husband Michel, son Kyle and his wife Tiffany, son Rick and his wife Maray, daughter Angela and her husband Tony, Hoot Jr., daughter Samantha and her husband Dan, 12 grandchildren, 8 ½ great-grandchild-ren, beloved nieces and nephews, and friends in every corner of the world. He was preceded in death by his parents Fred and Elsie Conner, his sisters Jeannie and Wanda, his brother Bill, and grandson David Marshall. "Tiny" joined the Navy on January 28, 1953, as an Engineman and later was accepted into the Navy UDT SEAL TEAM ONE, Class 24. He was recommended for meritorious Chief on five separate occasions. He completed many specialized training classes with the highest marks. Tiny was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Combat Action medal two Presidential Unit citations, three Good Conduct medals, Vietnam Service medal with silver and bronze star, Republic of Vietnam Campaign medal. He was named "Man of the Year" in 1974 at the Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado. After five tours in Vietnam, he was honorably discharged at the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado with 22 years of service, on his 40th birthday in 1975. The San Diego Chamber of Commerce presented him with the "Honor Award" in 1974. An avid wrestler, Hoot was discovered by a Judo Master in Japan, and went on to earn his black belt. From 1962 to 1973, Tiny was 11th Naval District Heavyweight Judo Champ, and from 1965 to 1973 was All Navy Champ. In 1969, he was selected to represent the Navy in the International Military Games in Germany. Hoot held a part-time job as the "Crowd Control Engineer" (bouncer) at Mickey Finn's from 1963, until the club closed in 1976. During this time, he traveled with the San Diego Chargers and shot the Mickey Finn cannon after each score. He was a regular on the Mickey Finn NBC television show. Hoot served on the organizing committee for the very successful San Diego Holiday Bowl. He coached Pop Warner Football, taught adult and youth judo at the Naval Training Center. He earned his degree at Mesa College and National University after retiring from the Navy. Hoot and his Darlin' were retired together 12 years during which they traveled to all 50 states, most of Canada and Mexico, and enjoyed six cruises to various parts of the world. Hoot was a member of El Cajon Wesleyan Church where he dedicated his life to his Lord in 1991. March 3rd was the 37th anniversary of their honeymoon. When asked how are you? His standard reply was "Better than I deserve." There will never be one who deserved more! The hole in our hearts will never heal. We miss you Darlin', Pop, Dad, Grampy, Poppy, Dude, Hoot, Tiny, Uncle Hoot, and Paco. A Memorial Service will be held on April 24th at 10:00 a.m., at El Cajon Wesleyan Church, 1500 E. Lexington Avenue. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Best Years Fellowship Youth Scholarship Fund at El Cajon Wesleyan Church, 1500 E. Lexington Avenue, El Cajon, California 92019, Attention: Vicki Gerlek, vgerlek@ecwesleyan. com (619) 440-4452.

Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Apr. 21, 2010
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