Milton Edward Connelly, age 89, passed away peacefully at his home in Missoula on September 21, 2023, surrounded by family.
Milton was born on June 19, 1934 in Lindsay, Nebraska to James and Catherine Connelly. Raised on a farm with five siblings, his deep-rooted love for farm life remained with him. In 1956, after two years in the Army, he returned to Nebraska before eventually migrating to Montana to pursue farming on his own.
His agricultural dreams took a turn when a harsh Valier winter compelled him to shift gears. He pursued an electrical engineering degree at the University of Iowa, which ultimately led him back to Montana to work for the Montana Power Company, where he steadily rose through the ranks until his retirement as the manager of the Missoula division in 1996.
In 1974, he married Joann Harding Neff and adopted her two sons, Brian and Scott. Together, they had another son, Patrick, in 1975.
Milton's summers were marked by visits to the family farm in Nebraska and he looked forward to his annual hunting trip in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, more for the experience than the hunt itself. He found joy in fishing, floating, and generally being outside.
Upon retirement, Milton and Joann embarked on worldwide adventures, visiting dozens of countries where they rode elephants, fed rhinos, and walked on the Great Wall.
Retirement also gave him the time to focus on his love of gardening. With Joann, he cultivated a magnificent garden at their Miller Creek residence, gaining local recognition for the beautiful sight it offered commuters. For over two decades, they were a beloved presence at the Missoula Farmer's Market, selling their vibrant flowers and homegrown vegetables. Milton's warm heart and infectious smile forged many friendships, and he served on the market's board for several years.
Milton is survived by his loving wife, Joann, his stepson Brian, his son Patrick, and his sisters Ramona and Mary. He was preceded in death by his brothers Clarence and James, his sister Laverna, and his stepson Scott.
Services for Milton will be held at St. Francis Xavier Church on October 3 at 11:00 AM, with a reception at Garden City Funeral Home to follow. Floral tributes can be sent to Garden City Funeral Home, and contributions in his memory may be made to Partners in Home Care hospice.