Note: The following is an excerpt of Patrick Newell’s column. The full article will appear in the Friday, July 24 edition of The Evening Sun.
The words “senseless accident” were written in The Evening Sun’s obituary section Wednesday, July 22. Those two words completed the opening sentence in our paper’s farewell to former Norwich resident Brian Conant, who was struck by wayward car on the driver’s side of his own car. Conant, a man of strong relIgious faith and a devoted husband, was merely waiting for traffic to pass before exiting the parking lot at his place of worship. Conant’s wife was seriously injured, as was his mother-in-law. Brian, however, took the brunt of the oncoming car’s force, and he teetered on the edge of death before finally succumbing last weekend.
Just saying the words, “Brian Conant is no longer with us” seem implausible and difficult to fathom. On the “senseless scale,” this death rates awfully high for me, especially due to my personal association with the Conant family for at least 30 years.
I was in the same graduating class as Brian’s older brother Eric, Brian was a year behind me in school and graduated with my sister Christina, and another older brother of Brian’s, Mark, was a good friend of mine in my late teens and early 20s. I also knew Brian’s younger brother Dave, who was a frequent participant in our weekly Sunday afternoon sandlot football games. All of the boys, to a fault, were exceedingly polite, respectful, and good-humored. And when it came to pick-up games in which each of us attempted to live our own little moments of glory, the Conants were consummate sportsmen and examples of fair play.