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Paul M. Connelly, 80, a Bethlehem Steel Corp. retiree and decorated war hero, died Sunday (Sept. 12, 1999) in his Orchard Park home after suffering a heart attack.

Connelly retired in 1980 from Bethlehem Steel, where he was an industrial analyst of raw materials used in steelmaking. He had been employed by the Lackawanna corporation for 30 years.

A Marine Corps first lieutenant in World War II, Connelly was awarded the Silver Star, the Conspicuous Service Medal for valor and two Purple Hearts.

He earned the Silver Star on Iwo Jima Feb. 23, 1945, while serving as an intelligence officer for a Marine infantry battalion.

The citation accompanying the award described how Connelly ventured beyond the front lines twice to locate a Japanese gun emplacement that was preventing his unit from advancing. He made the second attempt to locate the artillery after being wounded and treated and returning to duty.

Once he located the enemy position, he directed artillery fire on it, and it was destroyed.

A musician, Connelly was a member of the Marine Corps Band early in his military career but requested a transfer to overseas combat duty.

A native of Salamanca, Connelly was a graduate of Salamanca High School. He attended St. Bonaventure University and Fredonia State College.

Surviving are his wife, Margaret O'Brien Connelly; four sons, Patrick, Kevin of Eden, Michael and Paul; three daughters, Kathleen Kennedy of Pittsburgh, Meg Humphrey of Bethesda, Md., and Mary Batt of Hamburg; 21 grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Wednesday in St. Bernadette's Catholic Church, S-5930 Abbott Road, Orchard Park. Prayers will be said at 9:15 in James W. Cannan Funeral Home, 3155 Orchard Park Road, Orchard Park.

Burial will be in Hillcrest Cemetery, Hamburg.


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