MECHANICVILLE — Lifelong Mechanicville resident and former Mayor John "Jack" Connors will be remembered as a small-town businessman, a family man and a political activist.
Mechanicville City Court Judge Joe Sheehan said he grew up during Connors' time as mayor, from 1960 to 1968.
"Jack ran a family business, and the thing he did better than anyone else was treat all of his customers like they were part of his family," Sheehan said. "Much of what he was so good at has been passed along to his kids."
Connors died Tuesday at age 90.
He was a personal friend of Sen. Robert Kennedy, who visited Mechanicville on several occasions. A black-and-white photo of the pair hangs in Mechanicville City Hall.
Connors, a graduate of Mechanicville High School and Russell Sage College, opened an insurance company, The Connors Agency, in Mechanicville at the age of 27 in 1955.
He later added a real estate agency, Connors-Howard Realty Inc., to the business in 1968.
Connors' son Kevin, who joined his father's insurance business on North Central Avenue in 1976, said he admired his father.
"He had to have a lot of guts," Kevin said of his father's decision to open The Connors Agency at a young age. "He already had my older brother, and my mother was pregnant with her second child."
Kevin added, "He came in to the office every day until December wearing a suit and tie and was sharp as a tack."
After serving two terms as mayor of Mechanicville, Connors was chosen as president of the New York Conference of Mayors.
Kevin said his father was also involved in many organizations, including the Saratoga County Democratic Committee, Mechanicville-Stillwater Elks Lodge No. 1403, Knights of Columbus, Saratoga County Board of Realtors, Mechanicville-Stillwater Chamber of Commerce and was a founding member of the Mechanicville Junior Chamber of Commerce.
Former Mechanicville Mayor Patrick Hildreth, owner of Hildreth's Restaurant on North Main Street, said Connors was his mentor.
"I've known him all my life, and if you said Mr. Mechanicville, you'd see Jack Connors," said Hildreth, who served as mayor from 1988 to 1992.
Hildreth said Connors taught him how to negotiate.
"It's a commission form of government in Mechanicville, so even though you're mayor, you still have to get everyone to go along with you to get something to pass," he said. "[Connors] always operated in a way that was good for everybody, and you never heard anyone complain when he was mayor."
Hildreth added, "It's going to be a great loss for the city, and he left an everlasting memory on everybody."
Connors is survived by his sister Ellen Brown; sons Greg, Kevin and Tom Connors; daughters Patricia Connors, Maureen Culligan and Shannon Dufresne; grandchildren Matthew, David, Kevin, Eric, Dustin, Josh and Sam Connors, and Jack, Sean and Connor Dufresne, and seven great-grandchildren.
He is predeceased by his wife, Kathleen Hebert Connors, and daughter Mary Anne Connors.
A wake will be held Sunday and funeral on Monday at All Saints on the Hudson church, 52 William St., in Mechanicville.