Gary was born on February 15, 1936, the son of Hamilton and Jessie Conners of East Rochester, NY. His father was Police Chief of the village of East Rochester at that time. His paternal grandparents, Thomas and Elizabeth Conners, as well as many other relatives lived in the village. He had one brother, Donald, who was 14 years older than himself.
Gary attended the East Rochester public schools and graduated as valedictorian of the ERHS class of 1953. He then attended St. Lawrence University as a Trustee Scholar, where he graduated in 1957 with a BS in Physics and a minor in Mathematics. Throughout his high school and college education he was active in numerous singing groups, including the St. Lawrence Madrigal Singers and Laurentian Singers. During his senior year, he was president of his college fraternity, Alpha Zeta chapter of Sigma Pi.
Following his college graduation, Gary worked in the Research Laboratory of Delco Appliance Div. of General Motors, and in addition took graduate courses in mathematics at the University of Rochester (UR). In 1959 he was awarded a fellowship by General Motors to pursue a PhD program. Most important, in 1959 he and Gwenyth Caccamise of Rochester began their married life, a life filled with love and blessings of a large and wonderful family. They have 4 children, Gregory (Jan) of Syracuse, Mark (Karen) of Pittsford, Lisa of Bethesda, MD and Peter of Rochester. In addition, they have 11 grandchildren.
Following their wedding, Gary and Gwen moved to East Lansing, MI where Gary completed his PhD in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. He divided his working career between industry and academia. In 1963 he became an Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Science at the University of Rochester, where he taught and did research and consulting for the aerospace industry. In 1967 he joined Eastman Kodak as a research engineer, but continued part-time teaching at the University for 15 more years.
Gary had important consulting and management roles in the Center for Electronic Imaging Sciences (CEIS) at the University of Rochester.
It was the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) under the Joint Service Electronics Program (JSEP) that funded an early grant to principal investigators Moshe Lubin and Gary Conners for the laser work at the University of Rochester which ultimately led to the Laboratory for Laser Energetics.
Gary retired from Eastman Kodak in 1991 as Vice President of Eastman Kodak and General Manager of the Federal Systems Division, after many years as a leader in the business of designing and building space-based reconnaissance systems. While at Kodak he completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. He later retired again as Associate Provost and Acting Dean of Engineering at RIT, after having served in several positions at UR and RIT including teaching many courses in Theoretical Mechanics and Applied Mathematics. He was also Associate Director of the Center for Electronic Imaging Systems at UR.
After his retirement, he served as a consultant for Boeing and other aerospace companies in the field of overhead reconnaissance systems. Along with 2 colleagues he also founded a small company called GGC Imaging; this company was later sold to Micron Inc. He also served on the Boards of several local organizations, including the Tennis Club of Rochester and the Rochester Area Bridge Association, and was for 4 years President of the Harvard Business School Club of Rochester.
Gary and Gwen enjoyed spending summers with their family at their home on Canandaigua Lake, beginning in 1990. They also enjoyed playing tennis and duplicate bridge, traveling on many cruises to all parts of the world, and sharing Christmas and other holidays with their family. In 2018 they became Life Masters in duplicate bridge. All of these things were done together, as partners, which was the way they lived their happy lives of 64 years together.
A Funeral Mass will be held Saturday, January 13, 10:30AM at Our Lady Queen of Peace, 601 Edgewood Ave, Rochester, NY 14618. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to BOA Editions, 250 North Goodman Street, Suite 306, Rochester, NY 14607 or Pittsford Volunteer Ambulance c/o Fund Drive Chairperson, 40 Tobey Road, Pittsford, NY 14534. To share a memory of Gary or send a condolence to the family visit www.anthonychapels.com.