Jim, son of Dorothy and Bernal Connelly, attended high school in Kane, a small town in western Pennsylvania, . His father was a staunch Republican but was much impressed by the character of Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson 1922. So he pushed Jim to apply to Princeton.
At Princeton Jim joined Elm Club, majored in politics, and roomed with Charles Stilley and John Paul. He joined the Navy ROTC and spent three years as a first lieutenant in the Marines. Married to Susie Hough, he graduated from Penn law school and moved to a suburb of Rochester, N.Y. Jim aimed to get involved with local Republican politics, but the local organization snubbed him. So he became a Democrat, ran for town judge, and served through four re-elections and 17 years until retirement in 2000.
Meanwhile his wife, Susie, contracted and died from multiple sclerosis. Subsequently, through an ad in the Princeton Alumni Weekly for a group of classical music lovers, Jim met and married Phyllis Lange and moved to her hometown, Dundee, Ill.
Survivors include two children, James A. Connelly III and Martha Derleth; three stepchildren, Cathy Lange Gathman, Debrah Lange, and Mark Lange; 10 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.