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Marilyn Van Kirk Connelly

09/25/1943 - 05/01/2024
Service Date: 05/18/2024
Service Time: 10:00 AM
Service Location: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1500 E 6th Ave, Mesa, AZ 85204
Visitation Date: 05/18/2024
Visitation Time: 9:00 AM
Visitation Location: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1500 E 6th Ave, Mesa, AZ 85204
Interment: Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery

Marilyn Van Kirk Connelly passed away peacefully in her sleep on Wednesday, May 1, 2024 in Tempe, AZ at the age of 80. Born in St. Petersburg, FL on September 25, 1943, Marilyn was the first child of Donald Dean Van Kirk and Mary Caroline Taylor. She had three younger siblings: Catherine, Beverly, and Donald (Don). Marilyn grew up in Southern California where she met the love of her life, John James Connelly. John and Marilyn were married in the Catholic Church in Lake Arrowhead, CA on June 12, 1965.

John and Marilyn began their married lives in West Los Angeles, CA including the births of their first two children, Jon and Kelly. A few years later the family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A short while after John finished with his bachelor’s degree, he received a teaching position in Hawaii. Marilyn and her family moved there in 1970 and were sealed together for Eternity in the Laie Hawaii Temple in 1973. She gave birth to 4 additional children: Rebecca, Ganon, Megan, and Amanda. John and Marilyn lived with their ohana in Hawaii for 35 years. Upon retirement, Marilyn and John traveled with their daughter Rebecca around the country in a motorhome for ten years, visiting children, grandchildren, and countless cousins. Marilyn used every opportunity on their travels to do Family History. In 2013, Marilyn, John, and Rebecca settled in Mesa, AZ.

Marilyn loved working on her family history. She loved to reminisce that she had been studying about her ancestry for over 50 years. She researched countless family names, going back several generations, so that she could learn about them and learn lessons from her ancestors. When meeting new people, Marilyn loved to ask them about their name and where they were from. Marilyn’s first love was her family, her second was singing, and her third was family history. Since her childhood, Marilyn has loved to sing. She even performed in a community performance of “Guys and Dolls” while in college. She led the music in her local church congregation for 30 years, thriving on the excitement of creating musical programs, working with the choir, and of course singing.

Marilyn is preceded in death by her parents, her sister Beverly, and her brother Donald (Don. She is survived by her husband John, six children, 25 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren: Jon Michael (Catherine) Connelly of West Valley City, UT has seven children: Kevin, Jennifer (Samuel) Farnsworth, her daughters Charlotte and Maya Mae; Michael, Kimberly (Cory) Mansfield, her sons Thomas, Tanner, and Matthew; Benjamin, Aaron, and Nathaniel (aka Everly). Kelly Ann (Rycharn) Freeman of Kaysville, UT has four children: Stephanie, Christopher, Melissa (Thomas) Jones, and James. Rebecca Velani is unmarried and lives with her father John and brother Ganon Patrick (Heidi) Connelly of Mesa, AZ and their six children: David, Rebecca, Sarah, Thomas (aka TJ), Joseph, and Peter. Megan Pualani (Arnold) Hammari of Boise, ID has four children: Bethany (aka Bennie), Malia, Kaitlyn (aka Kat), and Jessica. Amanda Catherine (Eric) Reynolds of Saratoga Springs, UT have four children: Emma (Derek) Reese, Lily, Carson and Macy.


Marilyn’s services will be held on May 18, 2024 at 1500 E 6th Ave. Mesa, AZ with a viewing at 9am followed by the funeral at 10am.

Burial will be at the Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery at 12pm. Aloha attire is welcome and tropical flowers are appreciated.


We express our mahalo and aloha to all who have cared for and shown love to Marilyn during her recent challenges and throughout her life. She was known and loved by so many. Often when searching for a desired item, Marilyn would say, “I know I left it here somewhere..”



Arrangements by Bunker’s Garden Chapel, www.bunkerfuneral.com. Should this obituary appear anywhere but bunkerfuneral.com, please check our website for accurate details and service information.


  • Marilyn and Tom Rose

    Our hearts are sad for all of us that Marilyn has passed on to our Heavenly Father, but so very happy that she is free of her mortal health problems. She, as well as your family, are loved very much.

  • Arnold & Carmen Hammari

    Mama Connolly bought us our first ukulele and Hawaiian shirts. We will always remember her enthusiasm for life and the way she doted on her family.

  • Anna Kowalski

    Words can’t express my sorrow for you and your family. Please accept my condolences. Anna from DTA

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