Mourners Remember Connie Macauley Jr. and Sr. as Generous Friends
The pair brought more than good drinks and good times to the region, supporting various charitable efforts and making personal connections with their employees.
Whether they were talking about Cornelius P. “Connie Mac” Macauley Junior or Senior, friends, family members and former employees remembered both namesakes of the popular Pennsauken pub as funny, friendly, hard-working and caring.
With their funerals separated by fewer than two weeks, there was plenty of room to compare father and son, but nobody who offered a recollection of either found it necessary to do so. The details of their stories were similar enough to speak for themselves.
Father and son loved the beaches of Cape May and Wildwood, and always had smiles on their faces. Both were avid Philadelphia sports fans with a special love of the Phillies.
They were each known as compassionate bosses, dedicated friends, and the founder-operators of Conne Mac’s Irish Pub, a bar and restaurant that’s treated residents in the area to good times for some 15 years.
‘He was friends with everybody’
Outside the Blake-Doyle Funeral Home Wednesday night, the line of mourners waiting to offer condolences at Connie Jr.’s viewing stretched around the block even 30 minutes after the hours were supposed to have concluded.
After the service, some extended members of the Macauley family recalled Connie Jr.’s dedication to fighting cancer, even before he was himself stricken by the disease The bar held an annual “Cancer Sucks” fundraiser to benefit those in need of treatment or money for their medical bills.
Camden Catholic coach Gary Papa echoed those sentiments, saying Connie Jr. would always be remembered for “his overwhelming generosity.
“He was the kind of guy who always gave back to the community,” Papa said. “He was friends with everybody.”
“He was a good guy,” agreed Howard Hahn of Maple Shade, a friend of the family for 10 years.
Laurie Kulb, 40, was one of a group of women who worked for Connie Jr. while putting themselves through EMT training.
“We call ourselves ‘the old crew,’” Kulb said.
She recalls how her former boss would worry if they were late coming in; how he was concerned for their welfare even after they left their jobs at the pub.
“He was a father figure,” Kulb said. “He kept in touch with us, telling us how proud he was of us.”
‘He was a very special guy’
Pat Neary, 53, of Pennsauken, described Connie Mac’s as “a place where almost anybody can come and be treated very well.”
“This is a very special place and he was a very special guy,” Neary said. “[Connie Sr.] was very genuine. As a patron, your happiness here was very important to him.”
Staff remembered how to keep Connie Sr. happy: make sure guests were taken care of before they entered the restaurant.
Coffee, one creamer. Water, no lemon. Make sure the Phillies are on.
“If it was Sunday afternoon prime time, he wanted the Phillies on, said bartender Jonathan Crugnali, 29, of Southampton. “He went down to Clearwater, Fla. For Phillies Dream Week.”
When the team won the World Series in 2008, “he was like a fat kid in a cake shop,” Parker said, “and when they did bad, they wasn’t ‘his’ Phillies, they was ‘my’ Phillies.”
Connie Sr. was the kind of man who made sure that employees always got a Christmas bonus, said Arthur Parker, 52, of Camden. Parker has cooked at Connie Mac’s for 14 years, and was well familiar with the one-liners that that Connie Sr. brought with him from Philadelphia.
“[Connie Sr.] was always busting on something,” Parker said. “He’d say, ‘Arthur, you’re the second-best cook here. You know who’s the best? All the rest of ‘em.’ Or ‘You know who was looking for you today? Nobody!’”
“If he wasn’t busting on somebody, he was in a bad mood,” Parker said.
Throughout his later days, Connie Sr. remained close with his fellow alumni from Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia, Parker recalled.
“When he had his little Rat Pack back there, the stories came out from Brewerytown, Fishtown, Roman Catholic,” Parker said.
Even in death, Connie Sr.’s favorites were well known to his friends and family said day-shift waitress Kristyn Cocco, 31, of Washington Twp.
“They buried him with Dumdum lollipops, Pinochle cards, and Connie Mac’s drink chips,” she said.