Richard W. Conner
1924 - 2016
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Richard W. Conner

AGE: 92 • Vineland

Longtime Vineland resident, entrepreneur and philanthropist Richard W. Conner, age 92, passed away September 21 at home, surrounded by family. Mr. Conner was born in 1924 to Samuel S. and Elva N. Conner of Waynesboro PA.

He graduated from Swarthmore College in 1949, his studies were interrupted by a tour of duty in the post-war Army. Following in his physician father's footsteps, he enrolled in the Temple U. Medical School, but left before finishing and moved to Millville NJ where he became a partner in PDQ Products, a manufacturer of flying model airplane kits. Mr. Conner's time at PDQ is still remembered for his design of the award-winning Circus King, which for decades was highly regarded by control line flying model enthusiasts.

In the mid-1950s Mr. Conner separated from PDQ and started Rennoc Games and Toys in Port Norris. While manufacturing in Port Norris, Mr. Conner met and, in 1959, married Janet Berry. Around 1960 the company relocated to the WWII-era barracks complex at the Millville Airport. In the early 1960s, on the advice of one of his sales representatives, Walt Hendricks, Mr. Conner transitioned the company to the manufacture of textile Christmas decorations. In 1972 the company, rechristened Rennoc Corporation, relocated to a new facility in Vineland. The company grew quickly and became the world's leading manufacturer of plush Christmas decorations and a major local employer. Mr. Conner revolutionized the manufacture of Christmas stockings and other textile Christmas decorations through improvement of production processes, automation and product diversification while maintaining exceptional standards of quality and product styling. Rennoc Corp also manufactured high school team jackets and established a reputation for peerless quality in this field as well.

In the 1990s, Mr. Conner made significant philanthropic efforts in the local community including the founding of Hendricks House (named in remembrance of the man who had guided him into his most successful line of business), an outstanding halfway house for people in recovery from substance abuse, and Rennoc Corporation Foundation, a charitable foundation. In addition to his business and philanthropic pursuits, Mr. Conner was an avid tennis player.

He is survived by his brother Stanley and sister-in-law Ingrid, his children Samuel, Kathryn (Vertolli), Carol, Karen (Iveson), Deborah and Kimberly, grandchildren Joshua, RJ, Matthew, Andrew and Ashley.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend the visitation on Saturday, September 24th from 11am to 2pm at DeMarco-Luisi Funeral Home, 2755 S. Lincoln Ave., Vineland, where a funeral service will be held at 2pm. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts be sent to Hendricks House (www.hendrickshousegroup.org), designated for use in funding Hendricks House's Conner Upward Mobility Initiative, a program to facilitate education and vocational training for Hendricks House graduates. Memories, thoughts and prayers may be extended to the family by visiting dlfuneral.com.




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Published in The Daily Journal from Sep. 22 to Sep. 24, 2016.
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7 entries
September 29, 2016
I met Richard a few times at the Negley reunion and am saddened by his passing. I desired to meet my second-cousins at the funeral, but was unable the make 8 hour round trip.
haldeman_ben@hotmail.com
Benjamin Haldeman
September 27, 2016
Darlene Bakely
September 26, 2016
Dear Conner Family,
I am sorry for your loss. I went to school with Sam and remember Mr. Conner fondly from a school trip we took to Disney World when Sam and I were in 8th grade. He was very kind to me and a true gentleman. May he rest in peace.
Carol (Guglielmi) Pennington
Carol Pennington
September 23, 2016
Kathy--I am saddened to read about dads death--he had a grand life--one that was fulfilled with goodness and generosity--may he continue to play ping-pong up in heaven with the angels--always remember the songs he sang and keep them in your heart--with love Cathy Malone
September 23, 2016
Dear Conner Family, I'm so sorry for your loss! I know what a huge presence your dad was in your lives and in the larger community. He certainly leaves an amazing legacy; including at the Bayshore Center! His personal generosity and that of the foundation have been a major boost to our stability and helped us successfully complete the MEERWALD restoration back in the day and continue to bolster our programming today. I feel for you all, and for his grandkids, as you contemplate a world without him, I hope you'll find strength in remembering the good times and celebrating his positive contributions to the world. My condolences to you all.
Meghan
Meghan Wren
September 22, 2016
So very sorry to hear of Mr. Conner's passing. What a wonderful man. He was like a Father to many of us. Always positive and upbeat and so very generous to all his employees. It was a pleasure to have worked for him. He will greatly missed by all of us.--Tom Genovese
September 22, 2016
To Kathy and Chuck and Debbie, my condolences on the loss of your father. I'm thinking of you at this time.
Judy (Lubin) Lam
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