John Stuart Conner, 79, band and choir director for 25 years

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John Stuart Conner passed away Nov. 21, 2016. He was born in Gloucester, Virginia, on Nov. 9, 1937, to William and Doris Conner.

Stuart graduated from Gloucester High School in 1956 and after a year as an apprentice at the Newport News Shipyard, he attended Shenandoah College & Conservatory of Music, where he graduated in 1961 with a Bachelor of Music Degree.

Stuart was a band/choir director for 25 years and taught at Salem High School, Gloucester High School, West Point High and Elementary schools, Mount Jackson High School & Robert E. Aylor Middle School. He left a lasting impression on many students and colleagues. He also coached the golf teams at various schools where he taught. Stuart’s love of golf resulted in his working at several of the golf clubs in the communities where he lived: Shenvalee, Bowling Green West Point Club and Stonehouse.

His devotion to music led him to be the choir director at many of the churches he attended including Salem Brethren Church, Bethany UMC, West Point UMC, Woodstock UMC and New Hope United Methodist Church.

Stuart was a past president of the Lion’s Club in Gloucester, the Gloucester Teachers Association at Gloucester High School and the Piano Technicians Guild. He owned and operated Conner’s Piano Service for 15 years, where he tuned and rebuilt pianos. Stuart also tuned pianos for The College of William and Mary.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Billy Conner (Julia Lee); a sister, Mildred Dirle (Michael); and two brothers-in-law, William Courtney & Reinaldo Morales.

Stuart is survived by his beloved wife, Mary, and their children and spouses, Sharon Conner & David Rooks, Christi & Frank Morton and Neale & Donna Kemp. They in turn blessed him with seven grandchildren, Dylan & Logan Rooks, Alexandra Morton King (Dan), Avery & Jack Morton and Samantha & Noah Kemp. He is also survived by his brothers, Byron (Carmen), Gene (Judy), Edward (Susan) & his sisters, Doris Courtney, Patsy Morales, Bessie Conner & Margaret Figgins (Bob); along with a host of nieces & nephews.

Stuart was a loving husband, father and a caring friend to all who knew him. He never knew a stranger and captivated most everyone with his warm and caring smile. We will miss his kind and gentle nature, his wonderful story-telling and his ability to put everyone at ease in any given situation.

He will be greatly missed, but we are comforted by the certainty that he is now with his Lord, is forever happy, is forever healthy and is directing a host of heavenly angels singing praises to God.

A Celebration of Life will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, at New Hope United Methodist Church, 2489 Lewis Puller Highway, Saluda, VA 23149. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the John Stuart Conner Music Scholarship at Shenandoah University to honor Stuart’s love of music. Donations may be sent to: Shenandoah University, c/o Jane Pittman, 1460 University Drive, Winchester, VA 22601.