TOWN OF NORWAY, HERKIMER COUNTY (WSYR-TV) A Priest has died after being caught in floodwaters in Herkimer County late Thursday night. The Diocese of Albany identifies the victim as 82-year-old Father John Connery of Glenville.
New York State Police responded to a call of a man being swept away by the floodwaters from Factory Brook along Military Road in the Town of Norway.
The brook had overflowed its banks when a witness observed someone driving through the floodwaters. Troopers say the shoulder of the road had collapsed and the car became stuck with its driver’s side wheels on the pavement and the passenger side in a ravine that was created by the floodwaters.
Father Connery got out of his car and began to walk towards the witness and through the floodwaters he had just driven through. Due to the strong current, Father Connery lost his footing and fell. The witness was unable to help Connery because of the dangerously high and strong current.
Father Connery’s body was recovered this morning after the floodwaters receded by members of the New York State Police Underwater Recovery Team.
The Diocese of Albany issued a statement regarding Father Connery’s death:
“We are so saddened to learn of Father Thomas Connery’s tragic death, but we know that he died as he lived — serving the people of God without fear or concern for himself. Father Connery was a devoted priest who served faithfully for 56 years and just weeks ago had accepted a new assignment as sacramental minister for Sts. Anthony and Joseph Church in Herkimer as well as St. John the Baptist in Newport.”
Connery, was born in Troy and ordained as a priest at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany in 1963. He was named hospital chaplain at Albany Medical Center and became pastor of St. Joseph’s in Albany in 1978.
Father Connery, a fixture in the Diocese, was best known as pastor at Immaculate Conception in Glenville from 1990-2007. In addition to his work in the Diocese, Connery was also actively involved in other outreach programs to help those in need. In his statement Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger added, “May he rest in peace, and may his family be comforted by the faith that served as Father Connery’s strength and foundation throughout his life of ministry.”