Born in Norfolk, Virginia, William “Willy” J. Connolly, Jr. ’65 later` moved with his family to California, where he quickly discovered his athletic ability. A standout athlete and proud graduate of Bellarmine College Prep, he was awarded a baseball/basketball scholarship to SCU. His athletic career concluded as a second baseman in the Minnesota Twins farm system. Deservingly, he is a Hall of Fame member at both Bellarmine Prep and Santa Clara. Willy’s competitive spirit was a perfect trait for an investment banker on Wall Street. From the grass of the baseball diamond to the concrete jungle, he quickly learned the ropes and realized brilliant success. He was offered a partnership with Robertson Stephens, a San Francisco–based firm focused on technology stocks and IPOs. This brought Willy back to the Bay Area where, in 1987, he married Pam and immediately shared parenting duties in their Danville home.Retirement allowed Bill time to pursue his passions of cooking, wine, 14th-ntury furniture, art, and reading in the dream house he and Pam built in St. Helena. He tended to the vineyard proudly, cultivating and producing a zinfandel aptly named Connolly Family Vineyards. Among his life achievements, philanthropy, and success, Willy showed great love for mentoring youth in the Napa Valley area. His coaching, leadership, and example led him to become executive board president for Prolific Prep, a nonprofit organization for gifted young athletes. His generosity of spirit, natural curiosity, and enthusiasm through his life set an example for all that knew him. On the sunny, late afternoon of Oct. 27, 2017, with his loving wife at his side, Willy passed away at the age of 74 after suffering a fall in their home. Loving son of William J. Connolly, Sr. and the former Kathleen Warnock, he was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Jane Vanreusel. He is survived by his wife, Pam; children Scooter, Jon, Brent, Drew, and Shannon; grandchildren Tyler, Eli, Quin, Cade, Kylie, Christian, Lauren, and Grant; his beloved dog, Bella, and his faithful cat, Spooky.

08 Nov 2018