Kathy Connelly, who served the city of Apache Junction for nearly four decades, mostly as city clerk, has died after a long illness. She was 68.
Connelly, who spent 37 years as city clerk, passed away on Saturday. She started with the city in April 1980, not long after the city incorporated, before leaving Apache Junction last summer.
“If the men that started the United States are considered the Founding Fathers, then in the history of Apache Junction, Ms. Connelly would be considered a founding Mother,” said Apache Junction Mayor Jeff Serdy. “Her irreplaceable memory was filled with amazing facts and statistics.”
One of the city’s first employees after incorporating in 1978, Connelly began her career in Apache Junction as secretary to the planning director and, a little more than a year later, was appointed Deputy City Clerk. She became acting City Clerk later that year and was appointed City Clerk permanently in March 1982.
Over the next 37 years, Connelly served as acting city manager and assistant city manager on different occasions. She was a member of the Arizona Municipal Clerks Association since 1982.
“Kathy Connelly was the keeper of the city’s history and the No. 1 cheerleader for its future and those who were responsible for it,” said City Council member Robin Barker, whose service on the City Council dates back to 1989. “If you needed information about a council decision 20 years ago, she knew it all; if you needed background on an ordinance, she was the one to ask and if you needed someone to contact about an issue, she not only had a name, but also the phone number and an introduction if you needed! Kathy laid the foundation for our community. With her passing, the city has lost a fount of knowledge, and I have lost a good friend. She will be sorely missed.”
Former City Manager George Hoffman said, “As city clerk, Kathy managed such responsibilities as the city’s elections, minutes of city council meetings, the city’s records and public records requests. She was highly competent at those things, and I never had to worry about her areas of responsibility.
“What set it apart for me — and I think for dozens of City Council members and city managers over the decades — was her ability and willingness to offer counsel and perspective,” said Hoffman, who oversaw the city from 2002 to 2015. “At the management level, she had among the longest tenures with the organization and was able to help me and others consider issues with that long-term perspective in mind. She always had the best interests of the community at heart.”
Services are pending.