For parishioner Taylor DeMarco, it was the time she was in the hospital.
“He made sure I knew that everything was okay,” DeMarco said.
For Mark DiMartino, also a parishioner, it was the time they did prison ministry.
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“And the men in green warmed up to him immediately,” DiMartino said.
It did not matter where or who, those that knew Father Thomas Connery say he would always be there, serving others. Parishioners like DeMarco and DiMartino were among the dozens paying their respects on Wednesday.
“I’m sure everyone has a great memory of him because that’s what he did,” DeMarco said.
Father Connery died last week in Herkimer County during flash flooding. The 82-year-old pastor was on his way to deliver mass — something he often did in his retirement.
“He died with his boots on,” said Albany Bishop Edward Scharfenberger.
Bishop Scharfenberger presided over the funeral mass at the Church of Immaculate Conception in Glenville — the same church Father Connery served as pastor from 1990 to 2007. In addition to the church, Father Connery also enjoyed the Adirondacks.
“Standing on the top of Cascade Mountain, he’d turn and say, ‘Welcome to my world. There are 5,000 bears out here,’” said Father Joseph Busch.
In total, Father Connery served as pastor for more than 50 years — five decades of what many describe as spent bringing happiness and caring for others wherever he went.
“Father Connery went to Alaska, to Albany Med, to Little Falls, to Glenville, and even to stormy Herkimer to share faith and because he was a priest,” Father Busch said.
Father Connery will be laid to rest Thursday morning at St. Peter’s Cemetery in Troy.