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.
For 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: