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Public memorial service planned for former Concord High School principal

New Hampshire Union Leader

August 21. 2018 7:42PM
Former Concord High School Principal Gene Connolly died Sunday morning after a lengthy battle with ALS. (Mark Hayward/Union Leader File)

CONCORD — A public memorial service will be held later this weeek for a beloved former Concord High School principal who died last weekend after a lengthy battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Gene Connolly, 62, died early Sunday morning. A memorial service will be held this Thursday, Aug. 23, at 4:30 p.m. at South Congregational Church, 27 Pleasant St. in Concord.

A celebration of Connolly’s life is being planned for late September at Concord High School.

The longtime educator was first diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in 2014. The rapidly progressive, fatal neurological disease attacks the nerve cells responsible for controlling voluntary muscles. After revealing his diagnosis in 2014, Connolly decided to continue as principal throughout the 2015-16 school year.

The Concord community rallied to his support. In September 2014, the school turned its annual homecoming parade into a walk to support Connolly and ALS research, raising $25,000.

Connolly was the subject of a 2017 documentary titled “Mr. Connolly Has ALS.”

He graduated from Xaverian High School in Norwood, Mass., in 1975 and went on to Springfield College in Springfield, Mass. He graduated from there in 1979 with a degree in physical education, later earning his master’s degree from Notre Dame College in 1988 and his CAGS certificate from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell in 1988.

According to an online obituary, Connolly began his career in Windham as an elementary physical education teacher. He became an assistant principal at Londonderry Middle School in 1988, before becoming assistant principal at Gilbert H. Hood Middle School in Derry in 1992, then principal in 1994.

He was selected as New Hampshire High School Principal of the Year in 2014. Connolly was also selected as New Hampshire Middle School Principal of the Year in 2001 while serving as principal at Gilbert H. Hood Middle School.

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