Joan E.  Connolly
Joan E. Connolly

March 11, 1931 - September 13, 2017
Born in Ottumwa, Iowa
Resided in Johnston, Iowa
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Joan Connolly, 86, passed away peacefully at Bishop Drumm Care Facility in Johnston, Iowa, on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Mass of Christian burial will be on Monday, Sept. 18 at 11 a.m. at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, 2926 Beaver Ave., in Des Moines, with visitation from 9:30 - 11 a.m. prior to the Mass.

Joan was born on March 11, 1931 in Ottumwa, Iowa to Winifred and John Gavin. Formerly of Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Omaha, Neb., Joan enjoyed a more than 20-year career at Rockwell Collins, Inc., in Cedar Rapids. She was preceded in death by her beloved daughter, Maureen Connolly, former husband Robert Connolly, Sr., her parents, brothers John Gavin and Larry Gavin, sisters Anne Niebrugge, Rita Gavin and Barbara Stuber, and son-in-law, Bob McQuillan.

She is survived by son and daughter-in-law, Bob and Carol Connolly of Johnston, Iowa; daughter and son-in-law, Colleen McQuillan Johnson and Chris Johnson of Omaha, Neb.; and grandchildren, Maura and Jilleen Connolly; Bridget, Erin and Gavin McQuillan, and many nieces and nephews.

Joan showed strength and grace through so many hardships in her life, especially the tragic loss of her daughter, Maureen, in 1974. Through it all, she picked herself up and persevered, as any strong Irish gal would do. Her children and grandchildren were her greatest source of pride and she delighted in being an integral part of their lives or hearing about their escapades. She was also a second mother to many of her nieces and nephews and younger friends. Joan had a zest for life. Well-read and curious, she had her finger on the pulse of politics. Until the very end, she maintained a wicked sense of humor. She loved to laugh and couldn’t resist a good joke or a stiff Manhattan. In Joan’s honor, take a moment to laugh, enjoy your favorite drink and hug the ones you love.

We are so very grateful to the kind and loving caregivers at Martina Place Assisted Living Center and Bishop Drumm Care Center.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent to Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Des Moines or Dowd Memorial Chapel of the Immaculate Conception at Boys Town, Omaha. Online condolences at


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Holy Trinity Catholic Church
2926 Beaver Avenue
Des Moines, IA US 50310
Monday, September 18, 2017
9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Holy Trinity Catholic Church
2926 Beaver Avenue
Des Moines, IA US 50310
Monday, September 18, 2017
11:00 AM


Holy Trinity Catholic Church
2926 Beaver Avenue
Des Moines, IA US 50310
Dowd Memorial Chapel
13900 Dowd Dr,
Boys Town , Nebraska USA 68010