June 7, 1929 ~ February 3, 2022
Born in: Bay City, MI
Resided in: Indianapolis, IN
Glenna Marie Connor was born on June 7, 1929 to Alonzo and Pauline Connor. She was born in Bay City, Michigan, but Glenna and her siblings spent their childhood in Lafayette, IN where she graduated from Jefferson High School. Glenna’s father Alonzo, worked as a cook for one of Purdue University’s Fraternities to support his wife and 5 (surviving) children. There he received praise for his hard work and good food. After Alonzo passed away, Pauline replaced Alonzo at the fraternity and took on the role of sole parent and breadwinner.
Glenna did not leave this earth without leaving behind a great legacy. God, Family, and Education were the foundation on which her life was built and centered. After graduation she went on to attend Indiana University, in Bloomington. Glenna later left IU without completing her program after she realized a career in the medical field just wasn’t for her. In 1953 she married her late husband, Joe Calvin Watkins (1929-2011) and played a significant role in helping to raise his daughter, Rhonda D. Mason.
Glenna always gave credit to her dear friend, Ms. Yolanda Whiteside, for pushing her to follow both her heart and the path God set her on by finishing her degree. So in 1970, she received her Bachelor of Arts from IU’s College of Arts and Science. Being the dynamic and driven woman she was, Glenna went on to earn her Master of Science in Education in 1978 from the same university.
She began her full time career as a teacher at Arsenal Tech. Throughout her many years of teaching Algebra she touched the lives of children across Indianapolis. It meant a great deal to her to teach in the Indianapolis Public School System so that she could make a positive impact on the lives of youth who are often overlooked. And what an impact she made! Eventually she went on to work and later retired from Arlington High school. Perhaps, this is where she made her most lasting impression as many have noted, she couldn’t go anywhere without being stopped and praised by a former student. After retirement she pressed on, taking her teaching out of the classroom and into her home. She spent countless evening hours working with both children and adults, tutoring them in Math. Over the years, as the field of education changed she continued her education as well by taking additional classes and courses to keep her mind sharp and her teachings up to date. In 2014, at the age of 85 and with her mobility now limited, she completed a course at Ivy Tech in Finite Mathematics. Glenna continued her community impact through programs with Ball State University and by volunteering in her church’s outreach programs at the women’s prison and later traveling to elementary schools to assist younger children.
None of this would have been possible if it weren’t for her love and dedication to Christ. Glenna was a long time member of Light of the World Christian Church. It was there that she made many lifelong friends. As a servant and leader she was enthusiastic about volunteering to help at church events, educating people on God’s word, singing in the Golden Lights choir, and introducing new youth to “The Light.” Glenna loved the Lord and did her best to live her life according to His word! She truly loved and appreciated her church family.
In addition to God and Education, Glenna was very passionate about her family. She was a dedicated and loving wife to Joe for almost 58 years. Just as she was in life, she was right at Joe’s side in January 2011 when he took his last breath and gained his wings. Glenna absolutely adored her family and there was very little she wouldn’t do for them. She had the purest of hearts and a genuine spirit but was not against showing a bit of tough love! Although small in stature, she was a mighty, mighty Queen.
In addition to her parents and husband, she is preceded in death by siblings: Shirley A. Connor, Paul Connor, Betty Connor, Pricilla “Roween” Lewis, and Patricia “Tish” Connor; and her niece, Vicki Eckels.
To honor her memory, she leaves behind daughter, Rhonda D. Mason; grandchildren, Antoine C. Watkins and LaKecia F. Mason; nieces: Denise Gilliard, Gail Spann, Sandra K. Connor, Joycelyn Eckels, Cheryl Jones (William) and Benita Coleman (Aaron “Dennis”); nephews, Creigh “Tony” Bell Sr. (Deborah “Debbie”) and Paul Connor Jr. She is survived as well by three grandsons, a great-granddaughter and a host of other great-nieces and nephews.
As a believer of God’s gospel, Glenna would not want us to weep for her. As 2 Corinthians 5:8 tells us “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” She is at peace and resting in glory.
Services will be livestreamed at 11am here