"After a life of thrift, Medford man provides lasting legacy" by Michael Levenson Globe Staff April 14, 2017
MEDFORD — A child of the Depression, James H. Connors lived frugally with his sister, Thelma, in a rented apartment in a vinyl-sided house. He ran a lock and key service; she worked for the telephone company. Neither married or had children.
Despite grumbling to his caretakers about the cost of groceries, laundry, and a new rug to replace an old one soiled by his dogs, James Connors did not really need to pinch pennies. Unbeknownst to most who knew him, Connors, who died last year at 89, had inherited a fortune in blue-chip stocks worth more than $3 million.
At his request, the money has been donated to the newly created James and Thelma Connors Foundation, which this summer will award 50 high school students from Medford scholarships of $3,000 each, inaugurating an annual legacy of giving to help city students afford college.
“A man who had six people at his funeral will end up helping hundreds, if not thousands,” said John Granara, James Connors’s longtime lawyer, who is now a trustee of the foundation.
The largesse has come as a shock to those who knew James Connors as an elderly, somewhat crotchety Air Force veteran who walked with a bit of a shuffle and whose only extravagance seemed to be his motorboat, which he would hitch to an RV and haul to a lakeside camp in New Hampshire.
Connors mostly kept to himself, said Frank Ricciardone, who is 95 and was Connors’s neighbor on Spring Street for nearly 50 years, and gave only a casual wave to neighbors.
A lifelong Medford resident who attended Medford High School and served in the Korean War, Connors and his sister inherited the stocks 50 years ago from an aunt and uncle, Granara said. They included holdings in major companies such as CSX, Exxon, and AT&T, and their value grew dramatically over the years. After Thelma died in 2004, James Connors used a portion of the dividends to pay bills and socked away the rest in passbook savings accounts....
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