Martin Connor, age 88, of Howard, died Tuesday, March 17, 2020, at the Good Samaritan Society in Howard. A Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:00 AM, Friday, March 20, 2020, at St. Agatha Catholic Church in Howard. Burial will follow at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery. Visitation will be 5-7 PM, Thursday at Willoughby Funeral Home with a scripture wake service at 7.
It is fitting that Martin F. Connor died on March 17, 2020, so he can celebrate St. Patrick's Day with the love of his life, Joan Connor.
Martin was born on April 5, 1931, to Martin B. and Lucille (Sullivan) Connor in Miner County. He attended country school in Henden Township on the north shore of Silver Lake. He graduated from St. Agatha High School in Howard in 1949. In 1954, Martin earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy from St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn., and then spent two years in the U.S. Navy, stationed in San Diego, Calif. He went on to earn his master's degree in education from South Dakota State University in 1969.
Martin met Joan Meier when he inquired about a job at the Fantle's department store in Sioux Falls, where she worked in the personnel department. They were married on Feb. 27, 1960. They began farming near Winfred and Martin found a part-time job teaching Latin at General Beadle High School in Madison. Eventually, this became one of his two full-time jobs. He taught literature at the Madison High School for 37 years and farmed his entire life. He retired from teaching in 1996, but continued farming. After he divested from the farm, he continued as an advisor and helper to his sons well into his 80s.
Martin won the distinction of Master Pork Producer in 1981 after investing in a novel hog operation, and constructing the buildings with his children. Martin and Joan loved to travel, visiting England, Italy, Germany, Greece, and many other places over the years. They would sometimes run into one of his many hundreds of former students on their travels.
He is survived by six children: Martin "Beau" (Susan), Paul (Michelle), Michael (Rebecca), Mary, Matthew (Catherine), and John (Libby), seventeen grandchildren, four grandchildren-in-law, and three great-grandchildren, his sister Colleen Welbig (Clarence "Bud") and sisters-in-law Sandra Tucker, Judith Dedrickson, and Marsha Meier.
Joan died on December 8, 1992. Martin remarried in 2001 to Carole Rafferty, a long-time friend of the family. Carole died in April 2007. In addition, he is preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Gerald and James, sister-in-law Rosemary, brother-in-law Jack, and brother-in-law, Joseph.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.willoughbyfh.com