May 26, 1930 – April 16, 2020
It is with great sadness that the family of Dennis (Duke) Clarence Connelly announce of his passing April 16, 2020 in Whitehorse, Yukon.
Duke was one of nine children, born on May 26, 1930, in Fort William, Ontario. He left home at 16 to help support the family and in 1947 at the age of 17, he joined the Canadian Armed Forces. Since he was under age he had his older brother forge his parent’s signature allowing him to join early.
He spent the next 28 years serving in PPCLI (Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry), 2QOR of C (2nd Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada), and finally in 1974, he retired as a Regimental Sergeant Major in the Canadian Airborne Regiment. During this time, he also had UN Peacekeeping duties in Korea and Cyprus. Duke was very proud of his time spent in the Armed Forces.
Duke married the love of his life, Arlene Joan Connelly, on June 10, 1955 in Toronto Ontario, and the joy of his life was the birth of their son Dennis in 1959. The family moved to Whitehorse in 1974 where Duke began working for the Yukon Government, first in Education, and then the Operations Manager of Campgrounds, Parks and Historic Sites. In 1985 at the age of 55, Duke retired again. Not able to stay retired, he served three terms as a Whitehorse City Councilor, where as many might remember, a caricature depicted him as a “bull dog” on council.
Active in sports, Duke was dynamic as both a participant and coach and it was his passion for coaching that made an impact in the communities. Baseball, soccer, and most of all hockey is where he excelled, as his teams won many championships. Duke was devoted and enjoyed sharing his knowledge and expertise with the Whitehorse Cadet Camp.
In his spare time, you could always find Duke enjoying the outdoors, canoeing, fishing, hiking and cross-country skiing. He especially loved spending his time at his cabin on Marsh Lake at New Constabulary at the end of his road “Dukes Arm”.
Duke is survived and will be missed and lovingly remembered by his son Dennis and daughter-in-law Joanne (Yeulet), his three granddaughters Tiffiny, Teresa, and Tara and his four great grandchildren, Zaria, Zyler, Emma and Charley. Duke was predeceased by his wife Arlene on June 12, 2011. He is now and for eternity, again in her loving arms.
Following Duke’s wishes he will be cremated and there will be a private family gathering. His love of dogs was obvious and he was seldom seen without his canine sidekick. In lieu of flowers, donations are greatly appreciated for Mae Bachur Humane Society or Heart and Stoke Society.
The family would like to express their sincere thanks and appreciation to his Doctor of many years, Dr. Ken Quong, and the wonderful staff at Copper Ridge Place on Unit B. A very special thanks to Shannon Cooper who spent many hours visiting and bringing him his favourite treat of lemon meringue pie.
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