De­nis was true blue

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - STREET WATCH - Josh Zim­mer­man

DE­NIS Con­nelly, vice-pres­i­dent of the Re­turned and Ser­vices League of WA, has been hailed a gen­er­ous and ded­i­cated “true-blue Aus­tralian” fol­low­ing his death on Wed­nes­day.

De­nis Pa­trick Con­nelly was born on May 4, 1940, in Mos­man Park and stud­ied at Mos­man Park Pri­mary School and Fre­man­tle Boys High School.

The son of a wid­owed mother, he left school at 14 and ob­tained an ap­pren­tice­ship as a car­pen­ter and joiner.

Af­ter com­plet­ing his fiveyear ap­pren­tice­ship, Mr Con­nelly worked as a jour­ney­man trades­man be­fore join­ing the RAAF, where he served from 1962-68. In 1967 he was posted to South Viet­nam with the No 5 (Det.B) Air­field Con­struc­tion Squadron. The late De­nis Con­nelly.

Af­ter he was dis­charged he worked as a supervisor for var­i­ous build­ing com­pa­nies be­fore mov­ing to the Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment where he even­tu­ally be­came a se­nior lec­turer in build­ing stud­ies.

Mr Con­nelly joined the RSL in 1968, served on nu­mer­ous com­mit­tees and in var­i­ous RSL po­si­tions – in­clud­ing a six-year stint as ed­i­tor of The Lis­ten­ing Post – be­fore being elected to the State ex­ec­u­tive in 2012.

In April 2015 he also took on the role of act­ing pres­i­dent and soon af­ter pres­i­dent of the Ap­ple­cross RSL sub-branch.

Sub-branch sec­re­tary He­len Pick­er­ing said Mr Con­nelly was known for his cheer­ful dis­po­si­tion and wicked sense of hu­mour and had made a huge con­tri­bu­tion in his time as pres­i­dent.

“De­nis was al­ways very ap­proach­able and friendly and open to lis­ten­ing to sug­ges­tions from mem­bers,” she said.

“He was in­stru­men­tal in putting to­gether so­cial ex­cur­sions and events that helped unify and draw mem­bers to­gether.”

Mrs Pick­er­ing said Mr Con­nelly was par­tic­u­larly proud of the City of Melville’s new war me­mo­rial, of­fi­cially un­veiled dur­ing a com­mem­o­ra­tive An­zac service this year.

RSLWA Pres­i­dent Peter Aspinall said the en­tire or­gan­i­sa­tion was in debt to Mr Con­nelly for his nearly two decades of vol­un­tary service.

“De­nis gave his all as a volunteer for more than 19 years and his loss is being felt keenly by all 10,000 mem­bers of the RSL,” he said. “He was a trueblue Aus­tralian.”

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