Lincoln - James J. Connor, 88, of Duxbury Court, passed away on Friday, May 10, 2019 at Philip Hulitar Hospice Center, Providence. He was the loving husband of Barbara N. (McLaren) Connor. They met at Scarborough State Beach in 1951 when he gave Barbara and her friends a ride home. From that meeting, the rest was history and they were happily married for sixty two years.
Born and raised in Providence, he was the son of the late Agnes J. (Dolan) Connor. Besides his wife Barbara, James is survived by three children, Patricia A. Connor-Azar and her husband Louis E. Azar Jr. of Woonsocket, RI, Kathleen A. Emmons of Springfield, VT and James E. Connor and his wife Jennifer L. McWeeney of North Kingstown, RI. He also was an adoring “Gramps” to one grandson, Joel G. Emmons of Charlotte, North Carolina. James was the brother of the late Dorothy M. (Connor) Heywood and her late husband William and leaves behind many nephews and nieces.
James was a graduate of Central High School, Class of 1948, where he excelled in the vocational program and found a lifelong passion for working with his hands, building a career in automotive restoration. James worked for Leedham’s Auto Body and Rossi Auto Body before opening his own garage, Jim’s Auto Body, in South Attleboro, MA in 1962 for 26 years. James completed his career at Gene’s Auto Parts in Cumberland, RI. Professionally, James was most proud of building a reputation for doing the highest quality work. James was renowned for restoring several beautiful show cars including a 1935 Packard 12 Coupe, a 1956 Packard Patrician, a 1957 Ford Thunderbird and a 1965 Corvette Stingray to name a few.
When James was not bringing old cars back to their former glory or spending time with his family, he could be found at any number of classic car shows, flea markets and antique toy shows with countless good friends. James was the original “American Picker” and loved to collect and restore antique cast iron and pressed steel toys, his favorite being Keystone Packard trucks. James loved all things automobilia, but especially anything Cord and Packard. He was a regular attendant of the Hershey Antique Automobile Show, Macungie Antique Automobile show and Allentown Antique Toy Show for many decades where he made lifelong friends. His family and friends will remember him best for his generosity and willingness to help anyone in need.
His funeral will be held Friday, May 17, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. from Bellows Funeral Chapel, 160 River Road, Lincoln, with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 a.m. in St. Jude Church, 301 Front Street, Lincoln. Burial will follow in Resurrection Cemetery, Cumberland. Relatives and friends are invited, and may call Thursday from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made in memory of James to NEIT/The James Joseph Connor Memorial Scholarship Fund for Automotive Students, c/o Scott Freund, New England Institute of Technology, One New England Tech Boulevard, East Greenwich, RI, 02818.
NEIT/The James Joseph Connor Memorial Scholarship Fund for Automotive Students
c/o Scott Freund, New England Institute of Technology, 1 New England Tech Boulevard, East Greenwich RI 02818