Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Westside

January 21, 2013

Sons continue father's legacy

(Continued)

INDIANAPOLIS —

After returning from the war, Conner looked up the woman who would become his wife (she was a family friend), got married, and moved to New York. He started working for a company that had a program for disabled veterans.

"It was kind of like a job with no accountability," Jack said. "He was head of their service department but basically could do whatever he wanted. It was the mentality that he had already done enough for his country."

After they had their first son, Clay III, Conner didn't want to raise a family in New York, so they returned to Indianapolis. He took an aptitude test, which revealed he'd be good at sales. He started selling insurance for Aetna and eventually opened the Conner Agency.

"He started building relationships the same way he did that kept him alive during the war," Jack said. "Some of those are still part of our accounts today."

Soon after Jack graduated from Indiana University in 1971, Conner offered to sell the agency to all four of his sons. It would be a 10-year turnover, since youngest brother Tom was still in high school at the time. Plus, "Dad always said the biggest challenge would be the four of us figuring out how to stay together," said Jack, who noted it was not a given that the agency would stay in the family.

Sadly, Conner died just a month after the ownership transfer was complete. Jack keeps a framed photo of him in his office. It shows Conner posing next to a headstone of an ancestor he had found through genealogy. It's only remarkable in that it's the last photo ever taken of him. Conner had a heart attack an hour later.

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