Leader of the Band / A Family Affair

Donald Connolly, the Leader of the Band, in his uniform. He passed in 1958.

by Tom Connolly

Donald Connolly, born 1915, passed from Astrocytoma September 3rd, 1958.

He was my dad, and September 3rd, the day he died was my first day of first grade. Not until 1992 would we understand LFS and the significance of his passing.

He was the father of five children. Ann, Joan, John, Kathy and myself, all mutants. My first three siblings , including Jen Mallory’s Dad, would pass like my Dad in their 40’s. Kathy and I muddle along, wondering why not us, the survivors of multiple cancers.

He was grandfather to Jen Mallory and seven other grandchildren. Ami, Bob, Jen, Don, Doug, Maureen, Shannon and Eric. He would never meet any of them.  They were very close-knit cousins. Five of the eight were mutants. Two left us as children, including Jen’s brother Bob and their cousin Eric.  Jen than left a huge hole in this group, when she passed in 2020.

My dad was also a great grandfather to eight great grandkids he would never know. Six of them are mutants. Cancer has hit the new generation as well,  but they live in a new time of monitoring protocols. They are scanned, blood samples are taken, and they are vigilant. It is not perfect. It is often scary, but it improves their chances, as does this organization, when it provides the educational and emotional tools to cope.

We did not understand, what my dad’s passing meant in 58. His mother had also passed in her early 40s during the depression. There was a suspect cause of death, but I think we can hazard a guess because she was the Mother of the “leader of the band”. I think my father and  grandmother would be very proud of this organization, how we have weathered the storm and the progress we make every day. But they would also shed a tear that their children and children’s children have seen such heartache.

Donald Connolly, the Leader of the Band.


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