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Dr. Richard Lee Conn passed away on December 1, 2022. He was a surgeon, community advocate, educator, and beloved father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He is survived by his wife Loretta of 63 years, his five children, eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
Richard was born on August 8, 1936 in Akron, Ohio as the only child of Oscar and Orva Bailey Conn. He graduated from Copley High School in 1954 and from Thiel College in Greenville, PA in 1958 as valedictorian where he double majored in Chemistry and Math. He earned his M.D. from Harvard University School of Medicine and completed his residency at the University of Michigan. He entered military service during his residency. He graduated first in his class in naval officer training in Annapolis MD. He earned the rank of First Lieutenant and served as the naval surgeon aboard the U.S.S. Randolph. He moved with his family to Spartanburg, SC in 1969, after his friend Dan Wootton suggested that Spartanburg was a wonderful place to live, and practiced for 35 years as a General Surgeon at Spartanburg Regional and Mary Black Memorial Hospitals. He was a partner with Wallace, Wilson, Brailsford Clinic. He was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and a member of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons, and the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. He played an integral part in the creation of the Wound Care Center at Spartanburg Regional. During his decades of practice, he was an advocate for indigent care providing medical treatment for those who could not afford their care. Many of his patients have stories of his innovative, compassionate, and life-saving competence in his approach to medicine.
Richard met his wife Loretta at Thiel College. They had their first date after Christmas break their freshman year. They had walked to see a movie, and on the way back to campus, it began to snow. It accumulated quickly and rather than have her trudge through it, he scooped her up and carried her back to the dorm. To those who knew him, this was a perfect example of his selfless and fun-loving spirit. Richard and Loretta were married in 1959 after graduating together.
After their five children left home, Richard made sure to keep their house full. They hosted exchange students from Germany, France, Japan, and Kosovo. Richard and Loretta were accomplished ballroom dancers and taught the Magnolia Debutantes to waltz for many years. They hosted weddings, birthday parties, numerous gatherings, and the biggest Fourth of July party in the neighborhood. Richard was a dedicated member of St. John’s Lutheran Church. He was a member of the church choir, church council, and taught the most popular and thought-provoking Sunday school class for adults for many years. He was a trustee of the SC Lutheran Seminary Board and was on the board of the New Day Clubhouse. He was a member of Rotary Club, the Civitan Club, and was an AYSO soccer referee and referee trainer. Richard owned two businesses in Spartanburg. Conn Arts sold art supplies to local artists and students and also hosted art shows for the community. Montessori Academy of Spartanburg was purchased in 2000, and with his family, he expanded and renovated the school to be the successful Montessori learning community it is today.
Richard is survived by his wife, Loretta and his five children Elisa Mroz (Darryl), Richard Conn (Jill), Leslie Dingler (Parker), Linda Juarez (Carlos), Robert Conn and good friend of the family Nick Trainor; his eight grandchildren Zachary Mroz (Jessica Jones), Lydia Mroz, Chloe Mroz, Emma Dingler, Aidan Dingler (Abby Shackley), Simon Dingler, William Burgess, and Lucas Burgess; and great-grandchild Memphis Jones.
The family would like to thank the staff of TerraBella Spartanburg for their kindness, support and care of Richard Conn in the last months of his life.
Celebration of Life for Dr. Richard Lee Conn will be 2:00 p.m. Saturday, January 14, 2023 at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 415 S. Pine Street, Spartanburg, SC 29302, conducted by The Rev. Wade Apel. Visitation will be at 3:00 p.m. in the Parrish Life Center. A private family Entombment will be in the Church Columbarium.
The service will be live streamed via https:// www.sjlc.church/live-streaming
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to St. John’s Lutheran Church or the Spartanburg Soup Kitchen.
Floyd's North Church Street Chapel
Saturday, January 14, 2023
Starts at 2:00pm (Eastern time)
St. John's Lutheran Church
Saturday, January 14, 2023
3:00 - 4:00pm (Eastern time)
St. John's Lutheran Church Parrish Life Center
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