Joseph A. Connolly III died unexpectedly on Aug. 15, 2022 at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis. He had had a stroke at home four days earlier; his husband, Bob; sister LeeAnne; and niece, Samantha, were with him when he died. He was 77.
The son of the late Joseph A. Connolly II and Madeline Connolly, Joe was born in Lexington on March 17, 1945. Proud of his Irish heritage, he attached special significance to having been born on St. Patrick’s Day, which he marked each year with a celebratory corned beef and cabbage dinner.
Growing up in Lexington, Joe showed unusual talent in drawing, painting, and sculpture, such that his art teachers took special interest in him. So did the neighbors.
Every winter, conditions permitting, Joe would make a snow sculpture in his front yard that was realistic and life-size. One year he sculpted a nude woman, to the chagrin of some neighbors and the delight of others. Whatever he sculpted, his sister LeeAnne recalled, it was a work of art. “He was born with a great gift,” she said.
After graduating from Lexington High School in 1964, Joe studied at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where he later taught for many years. His specialty was detailed drawings.
When Joe was a child, his family vacationed at Nickerson State Park in Brewster. That experience, coupled with the vibrant art scene on the Outer Cape, drew him to Provincetown, where, to help pay for college, he drew caricatures for tourists in the summer.
After he graduated, he lived in Greenwich Village for a time and served as a teaching fellow at the Arts League of New York. A New Englander at heart, he returned to Charlestown to pursue his career as an illustrator.
One evening Joe went to a restaurant to pick up his takeout order and saw Robert Foy sitting alone at a table. He walked over and introduced himself. They became life partners for 50 years.
Joe had a long career as a professional artist. He designed posters and brochures for major events in Boston and Charlestown, and he worked for many years as an illustrator and courtroom artist for Channels 4, 5, and 7 in Boston. Many of his illustrations were displayed by local and national news organizations.
A history buff and builder of stone walls, Joe also renovated three historic houses, one in South Boston, another in Charlestown, and a classic full Cape on Commercial Street in Provincetown built in 1790. The Provincetown house was often included in garden tours.
Joe loved his dogs, especially his Jack Russell terrier and his chihuahua, who he took everywhere. He enjoyed daily swims in Provincetown Harbor, and in winter he would ski and toboggan. He and Bob were happiest in their Provincetown home.
Joe is survived by his partner, Dr. Robert J. Foy, and his sisters, LeeAnne Connolly and husband Paul Lemelin of Belchertown, and Patricia Coyne and husband Jeff Jeffers of Palm Springs, Calif. Joe is also missed by his niece, Samantha Coyne Donnel and husband James Donnel of Steamboat Springs, Colo.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Aug. 25 at 11 a.m. at St. Peter the Apostle Church in Provincetown, with a small reception immediately following. Services and burial in Lexington will be announced. A memorial art show is also planned.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Joe’s name can be made to the animal rescue or art association of your choice.
For online condolences, visit nickersonfunerals.com.