Longtime McKinney Pizza Shop Owner Dies from COVID-19

Jim Connolly was 74 years old

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For more than 50 years, Jim's Pizza has been feeding the city of McKinney.

But in the days following his death, it’s namesake, Jim Connolly, is being remembered for so much more.

"He was just a real example to so many,” said Connolly’s daughter Sherry McPherson.

A day after McPherson and her brother Scott Connolly laid their father to rest, they’re still trying to wrap their minds around just how many lives he touched.

"My dad helped so many people and changed so many peoples' lives that we didn't even know,” said McPherson.

"So many that his funeral was packed and they almost basically crashed the live stream,” added Scott Connolly.

Connolly spent multiple days a week doing bible clubs for school kids, leading his church’s Awanas club and teaching Sunday School.

Even after he retired from the restaurant last year, he'd remained active.

Then at the end of October, he began showing COVID-19 symptoms.

Within a week he was hospitalized, and it wasn’t long before he was in the ICU.

"They don't know why it attacked Dad like it did,” said McPherson.

At 74, Connolly's kids say his age was the only risk factor to make him prone to serious complications.

In the last couple of weeks, he’d shown slow signs of improvement.

"I thought he might be home by Christmas,” said Connolly. “Boy was I wrong."

The decline was sudden.

"It was very, very sad. I guess it was a week ago, Friday night actually, he texted me that it was time,” said McPherson.

Before she had time to arrange for hospice, he was gone.

Unlike many who’ve lost loved ones to COVID-19, McPherson said she and her brother and their mother were blessed with the opportunity to say goodbye to Connolly in person.

"We're sad. We're very sad. We miss him. But there's some comfort in that knowing, he lived his life well,” said McPherson.

His kids said they hope they can do the same.

Scott Conolly continues to run the restaurant his father started. Though business has been tough amid the pandemic, he hopes to keep Jim’s Pizza going for a long time to come.

*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.

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