James Alan Connelly, Esq.
October 17, 1993 - November 30, 2020
Sacramento, California - James Alan Connelly, Esq., an attorney and gifted writer, died on November 30, 2020, at Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento due to complications associated with Leukemia [AML].
Born on October 17, 1993 at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, James grew up in Stockton, CA. James cared deeply about others and will be most remembered for his acts of kindness and compassion, as well as for his love for Shera, his family, and his dog "Buster." James was a HUGE Sacramento Kings, Boston Red Sox, and New England Patriots fan, loved music, singing, playing video games and is best known for his unique sense of humor and goofy dance moves! Described as an "old soul" in a young man's body – our beloved James was brave, lived life to its fullest, and rather quiet and reserved until he knew you!
James graduated from Lincoln High School in 2012, earning five varsity letters in cross-country and track & field, and was elected as Senior Class President before majoring in English at Wheaton College, IL. While at Wheaton, James was active in cross country and track & field and served as the Section & Design Editor for the school newspaper. In addition to working as a legal assistant/file clerk for Smith Feddeler & Smith, P.A. in Lakeland, Florida, James was a legal assistant for the Dyer Law Firm in Stockton before entering Pepperdine Law School in Malibu, CA. After transferring to the University of California, Davis School of Law, James was selected to serve as a judicial extern to the Honorable Consuelo M. Callahan of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 2017 and as a summer intern in 2018 for Neumiller & Beardslee Law Firm in Stockton, CA.
James was an Executive Editor of the UC Davis Law Review and a member of the Moot Court Honors Board, where he was voted "Member of the Year" by his peers. He also received the CALI Award for Legal Research & Writing II and the best brief writer award in Appellate Advocacy I. Upon graduating with a Juris Doctorate degree and being admitted to practice law in California in 2019, James was an associate attorney for Neumiller & Beardslee until his recent passing, all while undergoing chemotherapy treatments and a stem cell transplant. James was also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California and the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
James is survived by his mother Pokna, his father and step-mother Mark & Alicia Connelly, his brothers Ryan & John, his step-brothers Matthew & John Pollock, his grandfather Bob Connelly of Sunderland, MA, and his life partner, Shera Kwak of Villa Park, CA.
A virtual "celebration of life" will be held on Saturday, January 9, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. PST during which the family will announce details regarding two academic scholarships being established in James' honor – one at Lincoln High School and the other at UC Davis School of Law.
The family wishes to acknowledge the Sutter Cancer Center in Sacramento, CA for their loving care and treatment of James during his battle with AML as well as Be the Match, through which a donor contribution helped to keep James with us a little longer. For those who wish to do so, contributions in the memory of James can be made at www.BeTheMatch.org/JamesConnelly
Published by The Sacramento Bee on Dec. 13, 2020.