Weekender

Sibling honors promise he made to deceased brother

by Bradley Hartsell

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An image of Frank Conner was used on a cover of magazine Cycle Guide. He became editor of the publication, and while at the magazine he led an effort that resulted in street bikes being redesigned for greater safety. 


Frank Conner was promised by his brother, Tim, to publish his latest book. They may not have always seen eye to eye, but Tim Conner loved his brother and did everything in his power to ensure “End Run” was published.

“Frank was a strong conservative, and I’m very liberal. We’d get into discussions about things and go to the house and look up the answers on the computer,” joked Tim Conner. “He was intelligent and well-read, and while I don’t agree with his politics, those were good books he wrote.

“He gave me an inscribed copy of the first book and he told me I didn’t need to read it because he had already argued about everything in the book.”

Frank Conner died in January due to lung cancer that spread to his brain. He was 80 years old. As a retiree, Conner researched and wrote two history books, with “End Run” being his last. Before that, he wrote “The South Under Siege,” a 756-page book refuting commonly held myths about relations between the North and South from 1830 to 2000. Though he wasn’t officially an author until later in his life, Conner was always a literary person.

“Frank had quite a big library. Every room you went into, his house had bookshelves covered in books,” remembered Tim. “He was very well-read and researched. I think he broke ground; he wasn’t just a hayseed writer.”

Tim Conner lovingly remembers how his brother completed his latest book from a hospice. He was expected to live weeks. However, he fought to live for several months, typing his last page on a computer his brother let him borrow. With Frank Conner’s original words on the page, it was up to Tim to edit and publish the book after Frank’s passing.

“I couldn’t promise him a best seller,” joked Tim. “But I did promise him I’d get it published and I made sure that I kept that promise.”

While Tim Conner was wrapped up getting “End Run” published through e-books on Amazon.com, he always kept Frank Conner’s life, from childhood and beyond, on the front of his mind.

“I was single, Frank was single, and because of that, we hung out together,” he said. “I’d ride my motorcycle down on the weekends and go and eat with Frank at Huddle House.”

He says while they would spend time together, especially at Huddle House, they’d debate and discuss “everything under the sun.” He says they tried to avoid talking about politics because of how different their views were, but every now and then, the topic would come up.

Their differences weren’t only politics, Tim Conner warmly recalls.

Frank Conner lived a dynamical, changing life. The Conners grew up in Georgia, where their father was a bank manager in Dalton, but from there Frank Conner circulated all over the country to different jobs, from the Air Force to an engineer at IDM, from research and development at General Electric to an editor of “Cycle Magazine,” a former motorcycle publication.

Frank Conner bounced from Texas to New York to California, moving back to Newnan from Manhattan Beach, CA, in 1988 after his father passed away and his mother was injured in a car accident. While Frank Conner had lived all over the country doing all kinds of various jobs before settling back in Newnan, Tim Conner says, despite their respective political views, his brother was living by the seat of his pants, while Tim Conner was conservative by staying in Dalton and taking up his father’s banking career.

“Frank was always where the action was,” Tim said. “Whatever was going on, he was always there. If Roosevelt died and the train was coming through Georgia, he’d be there to watch it. He did underwater cave exploring and searched for lost Dutchman mines. He was always the adventurous one and I was the green-eyed banker.”

Tim Conner was a “nine to five” career man who happened to have staunch liberal politics. Frank Conner was a firecracker, traveling, working and motorcycling all over the country (even into his 70s), yet was such a convicted conservative, he wrote two history books about it. The two brothers could not have been more different.

But they were family. They loved being around one another. They loved debating and discussing, even on things they didn’t agree on. After Frank’s passing, Tim Conner has done everything he can to honor his brother, because even though they were almost completely opposites, they deeply cared for one another.

“I miss him a lot,” said Tim Conner. “I still do.”



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