Brendan Conner, 45, computer entrepreneur, musician, photographer

Brendan Mead Conner, 45, died in his home in LaGrange Park on Nov. 16, 2009. The cause was astrocytoma, an inoperable brain cancer, discovered in May 2006. Born on April 13, 1964, in Evanston, he grew up in the Morgan Park area of Chicago, where he attended Clissold Elementary School and Morgan Park High School. At age 16, he entered the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana, where he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in computer science and later went on to earn a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

A talented young organist, he first studied with local teacher Debbie Williams, whose friendship and support he cherished throughout the years. At age 12, he became the organist of a small, nearby church. At age 14, Brendan gave his own solo organ recital at Morgan Park United Methodist Church, and played background music for a short film, The Assassins, produced by the now well-known film director Charlie Carner, who also grew up in Morgan Park.

In 1973, at age 9, Mr. Conner was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and treated at the University of Chicago Hospital. In 1978, at age 14, Brendan underwent a successful bone-marrow transplant at the University of Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis, with matching bone marrow donated by his older brother, Robbin. This transplant gave him 28 years of remarkable, cancer-free health. The Conner family remembers with deep gratitude the many Morgan Park friends, neighbors and church members from Morgan Park United Methodist who gave support and encouragement during this time.

Mr. Conner loved to travel. He visited and photographed India, Hawaii, Florence, Rome, Paris, London, Rocky Mountain National Park, and the Grand Canyon. He loved photographing foreign cities, local plants, all of his family members, and insects – including cicadas, which he found beautiful and fascinating. No one was safe from being photographed while he was around with his camera.

He considered the founding and operation of his own successful computer consulting business, ConnerSoft Consulting, Inc., in 1998, as one of his greatest achievements. He owned and operated the company until February 2008, when his illness and cancer treatment forced him to dissolve it.

Brendan Mead Conner is survived by his wife, Mary (nee Leming); his brothers, Robbin and Gareth; his sisters, Maia, Gwenda, and Ariadne; his parents, Roger and Marsda; and one nephew and five nieces.

His family is very grateful to his doctors and their staffs at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, MD Anderson, and Loyola Hospital for their superb medical treatment.

There will be no visitation or memorial service in the Chicago area. Cremation will take place in Oak Park, followed by interment in Long Island, N.Y., where a memorial service will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, please send memorial donations to Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Attn: Terri Dillon, Office of Development, 750 N. Lake Shore Drive, 9th Floor, Chicago 60611. Checks may be payable to either the “Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute,” for support of NBTI’s research (, or the “Cancer Care Support Fund” (at the Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center of Northwestern University), which provides support for patients of the Cancer Center who cannot afford to pay for needed medications.

Kevin Murphy, Longtime River Forest resident

Kevin V. Murphy of River Forest died on Nov. 22, 2009. He was a graduate of St. Ignatius College Prep and Loyola University of Chicago.

Mr. Murphy was the husband of Alice Hamilton Murphy; the father of Marianne (Clark) Gapen, Carol (Terry) Herbstritt, Kevin Jr., Brian (Patty), Julie (John) Stack and the late Alice Murphy Tapling; the grandfather of Beth, Molly and Clark Gapen, Katie, Matt and Ted Herbstritt, Colleen, George and Robert Tapling, and Charlie, Liam, and Caitlin Alice Stack; the father-in-law of George (Marguerite) Tapling; son of the late Richard and Elizabeth (nee Coughlin) Murphy; brother of the late Richard (Rita) Murphy; brother-in-law of Thomas (the late Jean) Hamilton, the late John (Eleanor) Hamilton, Rosemary (the late Raymond) Nemecek M.D. and William (the late Anne) Hamilton; and the uncle of many.

Visitation will be held Friday, Nov. 27, from 3 to 9 p.m. at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home, 203 S. Marion St., Oak Park, with prayers scheduled on Saturday, Nov. 28 at 9:45 a.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. at St. Vincent Ferrer Church, followed by interment at Queen of Heaven Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to Avenues to Independence ( or PACTT Foundation ( are appreciated.

Frank McGovern, 84, American Legion member, Postal Service retiree, youth sports fan

Francis P. “Frank” McGovern, 84, of Oak Park died at home on Nov. 12, 2009 with his family at his side. Mr. McGovern was a WWII Marine Corps Veteran, an American Legion member, and a retired employee of the U.S. Postal Service.

Frank McGovern was married for 61 years to his best friend, Kathleen “Kay” (nee Joyce). He was the father of Kathleen (Gregory V.) Miklusak, Francis P. Jr., Ellen (Harry C.) Johnson, Terry (Trish) Stephen, and Patrick; grandfather of Ryan P. Miklusak and Matthew F., Daniel P., and Caitlin E. McGovern and Samantha M. Johnson and Stephanie, Rachel, Kevin, and Liam McGovern and Alyssa Lapa and Jessica McGovern; brother of the late Helen (the late Bill) Bruno; and uncle of many nieces and nephews.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at Ascension Catholic Church in Oak Park, followed by interment at Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery in Hillside. Memorial contributions may be made to Ascension Catholic Church, 801 S. East Ave.

James Gallagher, 91, Oak Park resident

James G. Gallagher, 91, of Oak Park died on Nov. 15, 2009. He was born in Glenaniff, County Leitrim, Ireland. Mr. Gallagher was the husband of Susan (nee McLaughlin); brother of Patrick (Mae) Gallagher; and uncle and great uncle to many.

A funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Bernardine Catholic Church in Forest Park. Interment was private. Arrangements were handled by Zimmerman-Harnett Funeral Home, 708-366-2200.

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