Jerome Patrick Connolly, 85, of Northumberland, passed away on July 18, 2016, at Manor Care, Sunbury.
He was born Jan. 14, 1931, in Minneapolis, Minn., a son of the late Walter and Gladys Connolly.
He grew up with his two brothers, Gene and Bob. As a young boy he was in love with nature and had a pet falcon. He went on to graduate with a bachelor of science degree in art education from the University of Minnesota.
He was a proud veteran who served in the Army, spending a year fighting in Korea. When he returned home he became a staff artist for the Illinois State Museum, painting diorama backgrounds. He was a gifted artist and illustrator. His love of nature was evident in all of his work.
He was employed by the Natural Science Museum for Youth Foundation in Westport, Conn. He has done paintings for New York galleries and illustrated 16 children and nature books for Doubleday, Rand McNally, Harper and Row, Harvey House, G.P. Putnam and numerous others.
In 1965, he began freelancing, which gave him more time to devote to his first love, wildlife painting. In 1973, he married fellow artist Elma G. Troutman Connolly, together they painted museum murals and dioramas. He has painted diorama backgrounds in more than 36 museums, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History & Technology, Washington, D.C.; William Penn Museum, Harrisburg; The Science Museum, St. Paul, Minn.; Illinois State Museum, Springfield, Mass.; Vanderbilt Museum, Long Island, N.Y.; Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh; George C. Page Museum of La Brea Discoveries, Los Angeles, Calif.; and many others. He has painted more than 130 backgrounds for museums from New York to California and Texas to British Columbia, Canada. In 1987, he spent six months painting diorama backgrounds for the Zoo Museum in Taipei, Taiwan and went there four more times to do additional murals. Jerome did a series of 14 paintings of Birds of the Waters Edge for Burton-Cotton of Baltimore, which were used for the Baltimore Life Calendar and the Audubon Society and Natural Wildlife Federation. His most recent museum mural was painted in the North America Mammal Hall and African Mammal Hall at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa.
Jerome was listed in Who's Who in American Art, Dictionary of International Biography, Society of Animal Artists, Society of Illustrators, and the Susquehanna Art Society.
For those who were fortunate enough to know Jerry, he loved hearing and telling jokes, he was always a happy brilliant and funny man. He used to love playing basketball at the Sunbury YMCA with his friends and attending local art events. He will be greatly missed by friends and family.
He is survived by his daughters, Anne Brunelle and Ellen Cipri; stepdaughter, Linda Troutman; two stepsons, Kenneth Troutman and wife, Marcy, and Robert Troutman; grandchildren, Nino and Leah Cipri, Chad Strauser and wife, Michelle, Kristin Tasker and husband, Bill, Jamie Jay and husband, Nate, and Jennifer Haupt; great-grandchildren, Ryan Neidig, Christ Tasker, Jenna Tasker, Heather Ferguson, John Shaffer, Austin and Brandon Haupt, and Travis and Nichole Jay.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Elma Troutman Connolly; and his brothers Gene and Bob Connolly.
The family is working on a permanent exhibit of his life's work to be able to share Jerome's genius with the public. If you are so moved, donations in his memory may be made to a veteran's organization of your choice.
The funeral was private.
Arrangements were by the Jerre Wirt Blank Funeral Home, 309 Water St., Northumberland.
Published on August 16, 2016