GLEN ROSE — Ira J. Conner, 81, a longtime resident of Waco, father, teacher, and friend, was called home on Sunday, July 27, 2008.

Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 30, 2008, at Wiley Funeral Home in Glen Rose. Burial followed at Rock Creek Cemetery with Rob Fortson, youth minister at Robinson Church of Christ officiating.

Born June 23, 1927, to Ernest and Ada Conner, he was the youngest of five children. Though his life would take him many places, Ira would never outgrow his love of farming, cattle, and the outdoors instilled by his family during his earliest years in Wallace Creek. In fact, he continued to keep cattle, donkeys, and dogs until it was absolutely impossible. Many of his family will always remember the long rides in his truck while hauling hay and fixing fence, during which he would often make up songs, tell stories and impart his timeless wisdom.

In 1949, Ira married his one true love and high school sweetheart, Oleta Ragsdale. Together they raised two children and enjoyed six grandchildren and four great grandchildren. On July 6 of this year, they celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary, an example of love and commitment to all who knew them.

A 1954 graduate of Abilene Christian College, Ira played college football and was a part of one of ACC’s greatest football teams. His stories of the “Freezer Bowl” and other memorable events were recounted frequently to all who would listen. Some of the pranks by himself and his teammates have since become legendary.

Ira’s love of sports became a major part of his life. He spent 16 years coaching at South Junior High, North Junior High, and University High school in Waco. He then became a school administrator and finished out his 37-year career in education at North Junior and University Junior High schools. He devoted much of his time and energy to mentoring young people. His involvement in education was more than providing athletic training and rote knowledge, but teaching dedication, discipline, hard work, and the importance of integrity.

Always a joker, he will be remembered for his pleasant demeanor, positive attitude, and ability to make anyone laugh. His jokes and teasing were a constant demonstration of his love. Always a loving and affectionate man, his attention always made one feel valued.

Most of all, Ira will be remembered for his tireless devotion to the service of his Lord Jesus. He was a member of the Robinson Church of Christ for over 25 years. His dedication to church, family, and service influenced every aspect of his life and often became a silent sermon. His children and grandchildren have carried on his legacy through their involvement in ministry in many different capacities. Though he has departed this earth, his love and wisdom continues to shape all who loved and knew him. We know that he now walks and talks alongside the God to whom he devoted his life.

He is survived by his wife, Oleta Conner, his son and daughter-in-law, Donnie and Stephany Conner; his daughter and son-in-law, Bonnie and Bob Spies; six grandchildren, four grandchildren-in-law, and four great grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made in memory of Ira Conner to Christ Journey Church, P.O. Box 3283, Burleson, TX 76097.

Published July 31, 2008

Glen Rose Reporter