Lillian Mae Connally, 87-year-old matriarch of Island Packers, passed to the great island in the sky on Tuesday, August 4—and what a legacy she leaves! Born to Charles Harvey Myers and Edna Mae (Cole,) this farmer's daughter from Laton, CA, was literally swept off her feet onto an Indian motorcycle in 1950 by the dashing and adventure-loving Texas-born, Bill Connally, four years her senior. They headed south, married in Tijuana and settled down to raise four children in Granada Hills while Bill worked as an engineering technician for Rocketdyne.
With four active pre-teen and teenagers to keep busy, in 1965 the family moved to the beach at Oxnard Shores where Lil and Bill Connally purchased the sport-fishing boat, Verna F, giving the family a project together. On Mother's Day 1968 the legacy was born when the boat, re-christened Island Packer, was launched. Four gold stars after the name represented the four Connally children: Mark, Kirk, Brad and Cherryl.
The Connallys bought a little travel-trailer and placed it at the top of the launch ramp at Ventura Harbor where Lil sold boat tickets to Frenchy's Cove on West Anacapa Island. The kids served as crew. Bill Connally did the advertising.
Twelve years later, with the creation of Channel Islands National Park in 1980, Island Packers became the exclusive boat concessionaire. Public interest in the islands began growing, as did the office, which moved onto Spinnaker Drive next to the park offices. As boats came and went, Lil held fort at the office, often arriving with a crockpot of lima beans and ham hocks, or a tray of brownies. She packaged ginger for those who might get seasick, and rented binoculars for their whale-watching customers, leading to the origins of the company’s retail department and adding to her duties. Always kind and thoughtful, Lil often brought her aging mother-in-law to the office to sit while Lil tended to business. She liked “Granny” to be involved in the action of the office and maybe sneak a few Snicker’s bar on the sly. Lil's amazing pioneer spirit, lively humor and fun-loving personality—well known to all who crossed her path—made her a welcome presence in our lives. Her pranks were legendary. Who else could get away with sabotaging the honeymoon suite at the San Ysidro Ranch during a friend's wedding— short-sheeting the king-sized bed and lining the toilet bowl below the seat with Saran Wrap?!
Lil's legacy carries on through her children, Mark, Kirk, Brad and Cherryl. Coming full circle fifty-two years later, gradson Jason is captain of Island Packers' trips to Anacapa Island.
"May the wind always be at your back and the sun upon your face. And may the wings of destiny carry you aloft to dance with the stars."
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial donations to the Alzheimers Association. in Lillian's memory.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Lillian Mae Connally, please visit our floral store.
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