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Frank “Bud” Connor

Frank “Bud” Connor, age 81, of Delano, died Tuesday, April 15, 2008, at the Golden Living Center in Delano.

Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be Tuesday, April 22 at 10:30 a.m. at the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Delano. Rev. Michael Miller will officiate, with interment at the Ft. Snelling National Cemetery. Military honors will be provided by the Delano American Legion.

Visitation is today, April 21, from 6 to 8 p.m., and will continue Tuesday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., all at the church.

Arrangements are by the Iten Funeral Home in Delano.

Frank was born May 31, 1926, to Frank and Genevieve (Borst) Connor in Minneapolis. He grew up in north Minneapolis, where his father was a musician.

In 1943, at the age of 17, Bud decided to join the US Marine Corps. Because he was underage, he needed a parent to co-sign his enlistment. His father knew his strapping teenage son would be a natural fighter for the Marines and happily signed, while his mama cried. The rumor that Bud spent his 18th birthday in the brig because he won an argument with his NCO was never substantiated, however, his service with the 3rd Marines at the battle of the northern Solomons, the liberation of Guam, and the invasion of Iwo Jima, and his honorable discharge in 1946, have been. It seems that his father knew best after all.

Bud returned to Minneapolis, where he married Mae McCollom and raised his family. He was proud of his three daughters, all nurses, and never passed up a chance to brag about them and their families.

He earned his keep as a mechanic, working on countless engines over the years, and managing the mechanics and the maintenance operations for several fleets of trucks, including NWC (Nationwide Carrier) and Stan Koch trucking.

But what Bud really was, was a fisherman. Big fish, little fish, it didn’t matter, almost any fish would do. Bluegills in the winter. Crappies in the spring. Walleyes and coho in the summer. Then, maybe a little hunting in the fall so as to avoid getting into a rut.

His retirement and his fishing expertise led him to explore a new career. His work as an extra in the movie, “Grumpy Old Men” caught the attention of family and friends, who wondered if he inspired the movie, or just appeared in it.

Bud liked to say that for every day you spent fishing, you got an extra day on earth. That strategy worked out pretty well and kept him going until he was retired and in his 70s. Fishing couldn’t fix Bud’s worn out kidneys, but a stranger with a big heart and a matching kidney could. God bless you, Bernie Dyreson, for your gift of the last 10 years.

Bud was content in retirement, especially with wife Diane to look up stuff on the Internet for him, reconcile the checkbook, and run the lawn mower. Although he did sometimes wonder why the oven and stove were so confusing to her, he accepted her answer that they’d discuss it just as soon as he learned how to program the VCR.

Bud’s various maladies wore at him in the past few years, but he refused to give up. He lived happily at home until earlier this year, and passed peacefully in his sleep. Most likely, he’s now in heaven teaching angels how to bait the hook and work the drop-off, while they teach him just how much exaggeration is allowed.

Bud was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Genevieve Connor; and his sisters, Marion Meyer, Gloria Bullen, and Beverly Nighe.

He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Diane; daughters Kathy and Bruce Soderholm, and Nancy and Phil Graham; Pat Hittle; stepson Jeff and Terri Davis; eight grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and his sister, Rosie and Everett Olson.