Longtime resident of Waco, Ira J. Conner, father, teacher and friend, was called home by his Lord Sunday, July 27, 2008. He was 81 years old.
Born June 23, 1927 to Ernest and Ada Conner, Ira was the youngest of five children. Though his life would take him many places, he would never outgrow his love of farming, cattle, and the outdoors, instilled by his family during his earliest years in Wallace Creek. In fact, Ira 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 fences, 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 6th 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 (ACC), 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 he and his teammates performed 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. Ira's 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, Ira 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, Ira's 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.
Ira 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.
Services were held at Wiley Funeral Home in Glen Rose, TX, with burial immediately following at Rock Creek Cemetery on Wednesday, July 30th. Rob Fortson, youth minister at Robinson Church of Christ, officiated at the services.
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.