From The Family of Greg Connell

From our family, please know that we have felt the love and warmth during such a private time. We wish we could respond to each of you individually with our heart felt thanks for the outpouring of love, support, and prayers.

gregngingerFor those that did not know Greg personally, he was loved by many. Greg was blessed with a wonderful family that supported him. A beloved husband to Ginger Fox Connell, he also had a great circle of friends. He was greatly loved by these friends and family. And he’s going to be missed.

Outside of Greg’s large circle of family and friends, most knew Greg as an accomplished Aerobatic Airshow Pilot. However, his family and friends will be quick to tell you that Greg was way more than just a pilot who entertained hundreds of thousands in Airshows throughout the United States.

Gary Ward probably said it best,

“Greg was a true-blue American. He believed in the country. He believed in the principles this country were founded on and was a very patriotic individual.”

He loved his family, and he has always been a tried and true friend to many. Greg was very passionate and loyal to his family and friends.

This loss is being felt throughout the aviation community but it’s also being felt by many in the town he grew up in. Greg was raised in North Augusta, SC. He attended Paul Knox Jr. High School where he played both football and was a member of the golf team, holding the low score for the Patriots.

Greg was a 1984 graduate of North Augusta Sr. High School, he wore lucky number 23 as a cornerback for the Yellow Jackets. He loved his hometown school and often found ways to show his support, such as his flyover at the Yellow Jacket stadium to kick off the start of each football season.

He went on to graduate from the University of South Carolina in 1988 with a Bachelors degree in Finance. Greg later became a prominent small business owner of Connell’s Heating and Air.

If you were lucky enough to have met Greg and spent some time with him, it would not have taken very long at all to learn that he was an avid, and highly passionate, South Carolina Gamecock. You would also learn that he and Ginger were huge animal lovers with 3 dogs, 2 cats, 2 horses, a donkey, and a pony!! Forever a music man, Greg also enjoyed playing the guitar and played in several bands over the years.

So to all his family and friends, Greg was way more than just a pilot. He was someone that lived, loved and enjoyed life the same way he flew his aerobatic planes – with extreme passion and intensity. His bigger than life personality always left a lasting impression to those who were lucky enough to meet him. And to those that were fortunate enough to make it into his circle of friends, you were family to him.

Greg’s passion for flying grew into his hobby of entertaining hundreds of thousands in Airshows throughout the United States. He is well respected in the aviation community in the Augusta, GA area and also with the close knit Aerobatic community throughout the United States.

Greg’s passion and love for aviation began early in his life. Greg started his piloting career at the mere age of 13. Through the years of hard work and dedication, he became an experienced aerobatic & commercial pilot with over 2000 hours of flight time logged. Greg held a commercial pilot license with multi-engine and instrument ratings. He also held an FAA aerobatic waiver card with several levels of certifications.

Greg began his flight training in 1989, his instructor was, local aviation legend, Al Patton. Al Patton also instructed Greg’s dad, Charlie, in the early 1960’s, before Greg was even born. The two families became and remain close friends.  His encouragement towards his instrument and commercial ratings came from his mentor, the “infamous” Charlie Davis. Charlie was also the one who initiated Greg’s aerobatic training.

His good friend, Gary Ward, became his aerobatic instructor. Greg also helped Gary, part-time, with the globally recognized Gary Ward Airshows team.

Greg was loved by many, and is leaving behind a loving family. In addition to his lovely wife, Ginger, he will be survived by his stepson Justin Daniel Harris, his father Charlie Connell and wife Sheila, his wonderful mother Frances(Jackie) Coughlin Connell, his sister Karyn Connell Edmondson and husband Paul, his niece Makenzie Grose and nephew Tanner Grose, brother-in-law Stan Fox and wife Anne and their 8 children plus their ever loyal Furbabies: Wingo, Fred, and Lacey.

From the words of aviation poet, Claude Stoker:

“Should my end come while I am in flight,
Whether brightest day or darkest night;

Spare me your pity and shrug off the pain,
Secure in the knowledge that I’d do it again;

For each of us is created to die,
And within me I know,
I was born to fly.”

For those that can attend the memorial service, it will be held Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 7:00 P.M. at The Richmond on Greene, 725 Greene St, Augusta, GA 30901. Family will receive friends from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. prior to the service.

Greg’s lifelong friend, The Rev. John Chambers, will officiate the service.

The Family is asking, that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to:
The Equine Rescue of Aiken, 532 Glenwood Dr., Aiken, SC 29803

Hopeful Hounds, Inc., P.O. Box 285, Grovetown, GA 30813

If you would like to leave a comment or share a memory with his friends and family, please visit Greg’s website or FaceBook Page.

You can view the Obituary at:

29 thoughts on “From The Family of Greg Connell

  1. Ginger our prayers are with you and family today and always. So glad we knew this special man! Love to you all. Jane and Thomas Cauthen

  2. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family and extended family at this very difficult time. Fly high and rear east Greg.

  3. While I did not know Greg personally, I knew of him from living in North Augusta nearly all of my life. I extend prayers of love and hope to all of his family and friends.

  4. The World and the Airshow business need a lot more people like you were, Greg… Blue Skies and Fair Weather. Everyone in this business is special, some more special than others.

  5. I will greatly miss Greg flying over my house on Bettis Academy Rd, doing his stunts!! The skies will never be the same. Ginger you & your family will be our prayers!

  6. Ginger, Ashlyn and my heartfelt sympathy and our prayers go out to you and your family. We considered you and Greg good friends and Greg will always be remembered by us . Our thoughts and prayers will be with you during this time and in the coming weeks .
    David and Ashlyn Hardy

  7. Unbelievable have no words – can’t comprehend the families feelings or pain. Know he was a good man,husband. Was not a daily friend – school times,band fan. Still he would always come over and say Hi. Even when he was surrounded at show. God bless all in need.

  8. Ginger and family,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. Greg was very special to our family. May God grant you prace and comfort in the coming days.
    -Marclee Hardy McDaniel

  9. Unbelievable – have know words. No way I could total understand the loss the families are felling. Know Greg was well thought of by me. God bless all in need .

  10. The 8th Air Force Historical Society, Georgia Chapter, extend our deepest sympathies to the Connell family in this difficult time. In Greg, we have lost a dear friend. Whenever our WWII veterans attended an airshow, Greg would always make time to sit and visit with them. He said he was in awe of these gentlemen. We will always cherish the time we had with Greg. God Bless.

  11. Although I did not personally know Greg, I do know the excitement He placed in my grandson Spencer’s face while He and Gary Ward put on shows, as well as when they were practicing — this Priceless purely Priceless.


  12. Greg is surely missed by his friends here at the Summey Air Park.Our thoughts and prayers are for his family.We have truly lost a great pilot and friend.God bless you.

  13. To the Family,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. I sit beside you in silent understanding.
    Kay Drake and the late Randy Drake

  14. I only met Greg one time and that was in Augusta at the Bo Shears Fly Fest in 2014. I was able to shake his hand while he and my cousin, Gary Ward were sitting on Greg’s golf cart planning their flight routine. He was a gentleman and an awesome aerobatic pilot and he will be greatly missed. I know that each of his family members, and Gary Ward will have a huge void in their lives that can never be filled. I didn’t really know him as a friend but we were friends on Facebook and it hurts me to not see him again. Fly high Greg RIP

  15. I’m just now exhaling. Greg, you were a rare gem my friend. Thank you for the faith and politics convos and your undying friendship and love for my music. Every time I sing, I’ll carry you with me and your infectious ability to love and bring joy into any room. We will rally around your sweetheart and make sure she’s okay. We all ache so badly. I will forever treasure singing that anthem, hugging your neck, and hearing your voice, that one last time. Till we meet again my friend. We love you, deeply.

  16. Barnwell Airport will truly miss Greg. So sorry to learn this has happened. He was an inspiration to our airport. Fly high Greg, your friendship will be missed.

  17. Greg,

    We only met once or twice. I met you at the Greenwood Lake Airport after your performance, and got your autograph. I still have it at hand and displayed to this day.

    Even though I met you for such a small margin of time, your death came as a sudden shock to me. When I first saw it in the headlines, my heart dropped. I felt a deep sense of grievance, even though I feel I knew so little about you.

    But somehow, I feel like I knew so much. Just from your flying, as well as watching some of your videos online, I could easily tell how passionate you were about what you do, and how it reflected your passionate personality. And somehow, my heart still feels heavy. Those few times meeting you, watching you fly and perform, somehow left such a deep impression upon me. Pilots like you, along with Gary Ward, are my true role models. Not the celebrities. Not the singers. Not the actors. But you. The pilots. The dream chasers. You’ve given me such an image to live up to in the aviation community.

    Even after the crash, I found that I was scared. I was scared that such a devastating thing could happen to someone that even I knew. And somehow, somewhere in this tragedy, I have found something new. As a result of your flying, Greg, you’ve helped my make my final decision to begin flight school. I’m only in my teen years, and I was truly considering getting lessons, but now, after reflecting upon the performances I watched from you, I can’t stop thinking about flying. I’ve been in to aviation for so long, now. I can’t see myself doing anything else. But all I can see and hear is that Wolfpitts, roaring in the sky as a slice of blue lighting streaking across the clouds.

    I want to fly. And just as I suppose you did, I want to live by that code:

    “Should my end come while I am in flight,
    Whether brightest day or darkest night;

    Spare me your pity and shrug off the pain,
    Secure in the knowledge that I’d do it again;

    For each of us is created to die,
    And within me I know,
    I was born to fly.”

    Thank you, Greg, for all you did for us as spectators. You’ve encourages some of us to be more than just spectators, and to be part of this amazing thing you found passion in.

    God Bless and Godspeed. Never stop flying, Greg. There are clear skies ahead.

    From, an aspiring aviator,
    Josep Nicolich.

  18. Several of my family members were enjoying the airshow on this tragic day. We were very saddened for Mr. Connell’s death and our thoughts and prayers continue to be with his wife, family and friends. Peace and blessings.

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