John received his first Boxer for his birthday in 1952 from his first wife, Patsy. He trained her in obedience using a book and proceeded to put a CD on her in three straight shows with two HIT (198.5 each). In 1956 his new puppy, MGM’s Matched Pennies Echo, was shown and pointed in the puppy classes. John became a professional handler in 1959. Based out of Woodhaven & Dearborn, Michigan where he was with the Police Department for many years and St Patrick’s Day is still a holiday, he became one of the top Boxer handlers in the Midwest. With those twinkling blue eyes and infectious Irish grin (and some will say that Irish Blarney) he has been mentor to at least two generations of breeders, exhibitors and judges.
Penny, a granddaughter of CH Bang Away of Sirrah Crest LOM with lines to CH Zack von Dom, Canyonair and Mazelaine, was bred to CH Amity Hall’s Master Key a Barrage son and BW at ABC 1959. In this litter was Capriana’s Tara, the dam of CH Capriana’s Bragabout by CH Flintwood’s Rabble Rouser. CH Capriana’s Bragabout was the sire of CH Amity Hall’s Mischief Maker, the 1965 Grand Futurity winner and one of John’s first specials.
For her second litter Penny was bred to CH Marquam Hill’s Comanche, a Bang Away son shown by Jane Kamp (Forsyth). Two puppies in this litter became their first entries at ABC in 1961. The elegant brindle bitch, second in her 6-9 class, was CH Capriana’s Apache, who was shown and finished by Joe Gregory for Mr. & Mrs. JH Kirby of Memphis, Tenn. Apache returned in 1963 to finish with BW at Westminster. The fawn dog, CH Capriana’s Renegade, was RWD at ABC 1961 at 7 mos. and came back the next year to take WD. Renegade became John’s first homebred special and produced 18 champions, including several behind the Arriba producers. Capriana’s All A’Flame was WB at the 1965 Ohio Regional under Dixie McCauley. Renegade was also the sire of CH Capriana’s Step-Aside, a BIS bitch and BOS at ABC 1967, owned by Don & Mary Smith. By 1966, John of the steely-eyed gaze was judging the Futurity & found his Grand Futurity winner in the Sundowner daughter, Blazon’s Fancy Pants and Best Puppy in Playboy of Woodcrest (by Renegade) from the 9-12 class. John was back the next year with CH Amity Hall’s Mischief Maker in BOB and had an entry in BOB almost every year thereafter.
John was at ABC in 1971 with Arriba’s High Hopes in the classes (bred by Dr. Fickes, owned by Jerry & Linda Huffman) and the Kanner’s CH Salgray’s Good Grief, a son of CH Salgray’s Ambush LOM. In 1972 he finished a tall, elegant fawn dog named CH Capriana’s Escapade in 6 shows (double Renegade breeding) and specialed CH Arriba’s Knight Revue for Dr. Ted Fickes. In 1973 there were quite a few dogs handled by John in the Parade of Champions. 1974 found him with CH Karjean’s Premonition for Mike & Carol Nesbitt. He handled dogs for Joan Ehlert (Pine Run), the Garich’s (Jered), Wanda & Paul Palco and the Art & Phyllis Rader, Dr. Ted Fickes, Mrs. Francis Abercrombie (Styercrest), David & Stephanie Abraham (CH Gray Roy’s Minstrel Boy LOM), Stanley & Nancy Kanner (Kricket) and Huffand Boxers.
John retired from handling and became a judge in 1975. He is currently licensed for Working, Herding, Non-Sporting and Juniors. John has become the guide and mentor for many breeders, exhibitors and aspiring Boxer judges. He has been involved in judge’s education and interpretation of the Standard for the past four decades in one way or another. John has also been on the board of the American Dog Show Judges Assn. His first regular assignment was the 1976 Regional in Denver where he found CH Marburl’s Joshua LOM for BOB and CH Morning Star of Heritage for BOS.
John was on the “committee” to help get pictures of Boxers for the slide series (chaired by Beverly Sachs). Pictures were taken at the Cincinnati Regional (Covington, KY) in 1984 and at the 1985 Regional in Seattle among other places. In Kentucky pictures were taken of CH Wagner Wilverday Famous Amos LOM (Grand Sweeps/WD from 12-18 that weekend), CH Jodi’s Jeremiah and, one of John’s favorite bitches, CH Turo’s Monogram of Sarazak. Recognition of the depth of quality in Boxer specials and judging other national specialties gave him the idea for an Award of Merit to be given to up to five Boxers that the BOB judge at ABC finds to be of exceptional merit. This program was presented in 1983 and was first awarded at ABC in 1984. He was President in 1984 – 1985 and appointed Suzie Campbell Editor of the 50th Anniversary Album.
In 1984 he judged his first ABC. BOB was an exciting new special, CH Wagner Wilverday Famous Amos LOM and BOS CH Turo’s Monogram of Sarazak. At the 1989 Regional in Chicago he gave the nod to another great dog, CH Heldenbrand’s Jet Breaker LOM with BOS to CH Jopa’s Shadow Dancer.
During the late 1980’s John was instrumental in getting the Top Twenty competition started, modeled on similar competitions he judged at the national specialties for Dobermans and Shepherds. He was on the steering committee and a Director for years. John judged the Top Twenty in 1991 – the year the incomparable CH Kiebla’s Tradition of Turo won both the Top Twenty and BOB at ABC. Beginning at the 1990 Seattle Regional, Tegan won BOB at ABC & the Regional six straight time and was BOS three times – 5/1994, 5/1996 & 5/1997 – the last time from the Veterans class under John Connolly and AOE in 1995. At the 1997 ABC John gave BOB to another of his favorite Boxers, CH Hi-Tech Johnny J of Boxerton LOM. John judged at the 2001 Top Twenty with the nod going to CH Crysto’s Image of Arriba. John also received the Richard Baum Award from the Top Twenty Committee and Board which “recognizes those handlers (owner, junior and professional) who best exemplify the true spirit of “handling” – professionalism both in the ring and out, superb care for the dogs in their charge, and a genuine love for Boxers”.
John will be the first to tell you that his many accomplishments would not have been possible without the help and backing of his wife, Carole. Those who knew her realized there could be no stauncher friend – or more implacable enemy. She gave John her unstinting support, kept his “social” and dog calendars and organized everything, including him.
Carole Andrews met Linda & Jerry Huffman (then “Jerry Lin Boxers” of West Carrollton, OH) when she bought a pet Boxer and it died during the ear crop. Like any good Boxer person, she was a stubborn girl and returned to get another puppy. She became interested in showing and breeding them. Huffman & Andrews formed a partnership and called it “Huffand Boxers” and they started looking for a bitch to show. She talked to everyone she could, gathering information and finally purchased a puppy by ACC Scher-Khoun’s Shadrack LOM that they named Huffand’s Allspice. She finished in 1971. Allspice was bred to ICH Millan’s Fashion Hint LOM but died before the puppies were due.
They got Arriba’s Ultimate from Dr. Ted Fickes in 1973. Ultimate was a descendent of Linebacker, Renegade & Playboy. She proved to be the foundation bitch they were looking for. Bred to Linda & Jerry Huffman’s, CH Arriba’s High Hopes (a son of CH Flintwood’s Live Ammo – sire of Prima Donna), she produced CH Huffand’s Charade, who finished in 1977. She was co-owned by Jerry Huffman. Ultimate was later bred to CH Benjoman of Five T’s LOM and produced 4 more champions under the ownership of Dawnetta Fields, with a puppy coming back to Carole (CH Huffand’s Sand Castle). Carole and John were married in 1976.
Huffand had a banner year in 1978 with 4 champions finishing and the gain of ABC Annual Award for Kennel Finishing Most Champions. Charade was bred to High Hopes and produced four champions in the first litter – CH Huffand’s High Society, High Test, High Time and Highland Fling. High Society was bred to CH Merrilane’s April Fashion LOM and produced CH Huffand’s Nice Enough – their second producer. Nice Enough was BOS at the 1981 Regional under Liane Dimitroff. Her sister Nice ‘N Spice was co-owned with Deborah Lisinski Marshall and produced three champions.
Linda Huffman became a professional handler and finished many of the Huffman champions. Charade’s second litter contained their third producer, CH Huffand’s Irish Rebel, also by Benjoman. Rebel was RWD at the 1979 ABC and sire of the next generation of Huffand champions. Rebel was Carole’s favorite, sleeping with her for 15 years. (the ashes of Rebel, Double Date and her pug “Amy” were buried with her). In 1980 Horst Winter bred CCH Jocolu’s Buttons & Bows to Irish Rebel. John was on a judging assignment in Canada and went to see the litter. He came back and told Carole there was one male in the litter she would like – she did. ACC Wincaster’s Tyger of Huffand became their fourth producer.
The 80’s and early 1990’s were good for Carole and Linda – Linda handled ICH Golden Haze Tuxedo LOM, along with many of his get and other specials, during this time. Tuxedo’s 13 producers include CH Huffman’s Chi Chi & CH Huffand’s Harley Girl. CH Americana’s Megan by Huffand finished in 1987. She was by Irish Rebel out of CH Americana’s Twice as Nice, a daughter of Nice Enough out of CH Americana’s Five T’s Classic (by Benjoman out of an Arriba bitch, owned by Juanita Burks). Megan was bred to Tuxedo and produced CH Huffand’s Obsession of Arriba, co-owned with Dr. Fickes.
Obsession produced eight champions bred to five different sires. Included in these are those confusing “Obladah” and “Obladee” bitches (Carole said Linda did that) and CH Huffand’s Arriba of KKN’K (owned by Deborah Marshall – Nastinan Boxers). Obladah, campaigned by Linda, was BOS to Johnny J in 1996 and won the Top Twenty in 1998. Linda & Jerry retired in 1999 for health reasons and moved from their long-time base in Columbus, OH to Florida. Much of the activity and decisions from 1995 till’ their retirement fell to Linda & Jerry.
John joined ABC in 1963. He was already an active member of Michigan Boxer Club (Dearborn, Woodhaven & Monroe are right outside Detroit) and served several times as club officer. He was Regional Director for MBC in 1977 & 2000. In between he was elected to the ABC Board for the first time in 1980. He served 6 years, including a term as President in 1985. He was Advertising Chairman from 1980 – 1984, giving the job officially to Carole in time for her to be Advertising Chairman for the 50th Anniversary Album (she had “helped” John the other 4 years). She was very proud of the $58,000 taken in for advertising that year. The Album started out as 200 pages with a club history and advertising. Not in their wildest dreams did they think it would end up drawing over 550 ads, with better than 750 pages and around 1150 pictures.
John was elected to the Board again in 1989 and served two terms, including two years as President in 1993 & 1994. He was instrumental in moving the ABC to Frederick, MD in 1995. He also appointed a committee, headed by Audrey Gerhardy. to review all of the Member Club by-laws and make sure they were in line with the ABC Constitution and Bylaws and the tax codes. The ABC Constitution was updated in the late 1980’s and the first Code of Ethics adopted.
The 1990’s also saw a reemergence of pressure on the AVMA by PETA and other animal rights activists to end all cosmetic surgery or alteration of dogs, including ear cropping, tail docking, dewclaw removal and so on. John, with the backing of the Board and membership, contacted other parent breed clubs to form an organization to protect their right to determine their breed standards in this regard, rather than be dictated to by PETA. National Breed Clubs Alliance currently has 27 parent clubs and continues to monitor AVMA and AKC (some of whose officials were telling the media they did not have standards that required cropped ears!).
John, at the urging of several members, also appointed Dr. Robert D Conrad (Baldr) to head up the first Health Committee. Dr. Conrad, as a research veterinarian and successful breeder and exhibitor, proved to be an excellent choice. The American Boxer Charitable Foundation was an outgrowth of this appointment and may prove to be the most lasting legacy for both John & Carole. John served as a Vice-President and Carole was the Foundation Treasurer from its inception until her untimely death. Her training and experience as a bookkeeper served her well in setting up the books to obtain and keep IRS approval as a tax-exempt entity. They both worked on all the fundraisers and Carole officiated over collection of funds at the auction. Permanent tax exemption was achieved in 2001, thanks to Carole’s records.
Carole suffered a bad fall in 1994, breaking both heels. She no sooner began to recover from this accident and be able to get around than, in 1995, she had a brain aneurysm. John was with her and insisted that she go to the hospital with her “headache”. He rushed her to the emergency room where she was transported to the University of Michigan medical school. Because of his quick actions, she was given the drugs in time to save her and she made a great recovery. Cat scans at that time revealed the presence of another aneurysm on the other side – not an uncommon occurrence. She was told the odds were 50-50 that it would ever cause a problem and elected not to have further surgery. John had withdrawn from some of his dog club and American Legion work and retired from his job as City Manager to become City Councilman in Monroe, MI. He wanted to be with Carole. They had 5 more years. In December 2000 the second aneurysm gave way, killing her instantly. John was with her. John & Carole received the Larry Downey award in 1996 and the Lifetime Achievement award in 2001. They have been elected to the Hall of Fame – an honor they richly deserve.
With Carole’s passing, John was persuaded to run for the Board again. He was elected and served as Vice-President. He judged dogs and intersex at ABC 2002. BOB was CH Carillon’s Elegance of Rummer Run and BOS CH High River’s Taylor Made of Backwoods LOM. Subsequently John married Marlene Garighty, and moved to Spokane, Washington. He continued to judge frequently. John semi-retired in 2015 due to health issues, he passed away August 16, 2018.
John T. Connolly Obit
John died peacefully at home on August 16, 2018 in Spokane, WA from Parkinson’s Disease with his loving wife Marlene Geraghty Connolly at his side. John was born in 1927 to Beatrice (Tappero) Connolly and John P. Connolly in Pana, Illinois. He moved with his family to Michigan when he was a toddler and graduated from Dearborn High School in 1945. After graduation, he served in WWII, first as a Merchant Marine and then in the Army where he was stationed in Italy.
John returned home in 1948 and decided to try police work and began his 37 year career with the Dearborn Police Department. He was a career policeman who started walking the beat in 1949 and worked his way up to Chief of Police. As a Corporal, he ran Dearborn’s first Police Dog Service program. In 1986, he retired from Dearborn and took a position as Public Safety Director in Gibraltar, MI, placing him in charge of The Gibraltar Police and Public Works Departments. He also served as a City Councilman before retiring in 2000.
In law enforcement, he had a reputation for conducting himself with honesty, integrity and kindness. John received many commendations for exemplary service including a letter from the late FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover for his part in apprehending two bank robbers. After retirement John became a world-renowned dog show judge and was a founder of the American Boxer Charitable Foundation. He served three terms as President of the American Boxer Club and was a mentor to at least two generations of breeders, exhibitors and judges. In 2001, a mutual friend set him up with Marlene “from Spokane”. John then moved to Spokane, married Marlene and they had a wonderful life together. John was truly a man for all seasons and a man for all jobs. Once he started anything, you knew it would be done right, honestly and with charm and wit.
John was preceded in death by wives Patsy and Carole. He was the oldest of 37 cousins. He will be missed dearly by his wife Marlene and stepdaughters Marcella (Don) Maile, of Camano Island, Sheila Geraghty and Brigid (Neil) Krause of Spokane, Nora (Steve) Boyle, of Sacramento, Kara (Pat) McIntyre from Wayne, MI. and sister Eleana (Octavian) Mihon of Ann Arbor, MI and brother Dan (Judy) Mihon of Natrona Hgts., PA and step-grandchildren. The family would like to thank Senior Helpers and Horizon Hospice for their wonderful care of John. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Boxer Charitable Foundation, Catholic Charities Spokane and the Spokane Humane Society.