Mark Connolly, former Director of the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities, author and Democratic candidate for Governor, passed away early Saturday morning, April 13, 2019 in Rancho Mirage, California at the age of 63.
His fiancée, Terri Lareau, confirmed that his death was unexpected. Mark and Terri, residents of New Castle, N.H., were vacationing at their home in California at the time of his death.
Mark was born on September 2, 1955 in Newton, Massachusetts to Gerald and Anne (Malone) Connolly.
Mark began his life-long path in public service while an undergraduate at Dartmouth College. He was elected to the NH House of Representatives as a 22 year old in 1977.
After receiving his B.A. in Government and Environmental Studies from Dartmouth in 1979, Mark went on to receive his MBA from Northwestern University at the Kellogg School of Management. He served as a senior officer for Fleet Bank, Wellington Management and Chubb Life Insurance where he was Vice President of Chubb Securities.
In 2002, Secretary of State Bill Gardner named Mark Director of Bureau of Securities Regulation. During his tenure in this position, Mr. Connolly oversaw cases against Tyco International, Ameriprise, ING, Pennichuck Corporation, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and UBS. Mark's efforts resulted in fines and penalties on behalf of the state of New Hampshire for 55 million dollars. Mark's efforts and those of the Bureau were recognized by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, as well as local press. Mr. Connolly was the recipient of the 2007 Securities Enforcement Award of the Year from the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA).
When people describe Mark, the words repeated most often are: integrity, fairness, justice, transparency, strong moral compass, principled, brilliant, kind, witty, and fair.
Mark's highly ethical nature became more evident when he was dealing with the FRM "Ponzi" scheme. Mark fought diligently and passionately for the people who were defrauded out of their life savings. Mark's belief that protecting the victims was more important than protecting state agencies led to his resignation from the Bureau.
After resigning his position, Mark was free to write his book titled "Cover-Up: One Man's Pursuit of the Truth Amid the Government Failure to End a Ponzi Scheme". His book is an insider's account of deception. The chapter titles are indicative of the battle that Mark was up against and include "Something's Just Not Right Here, Did He Really Say That, Through the Looking Glass, FRM Table Tennis, Passing the Buck, and Smoke and Mirrors".
Mark was a man of great curiosity and diverse interests. He loved art and collected many works of his own. He was also an artist. He loved history and books. He also made history and wrote books. Mark was an avid reader, a movie lover, a sometime sailor, a jazz lover, a comic with cool dance moves, an aspiring golfer, Gramps to Jeffrey and Samuel, a mentor, a father to Ted the cat and most importantly a best friend and companion to Terri, the true love of his life. Terri is the person who supported the man that we all care so deeply for. Mark was truly a Renaissance man. Anyone who had the privilege to know him knew that he was a gentleman and a gentle man.
Mark was an expert on Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway must have had a person of Mark's stature in mind when he wrote: "The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice."
Mark was a trustee of Strawbery Banke and the Portsmouth Athenaeum. Formerly, he served as chairman of the New Castle Planning Board, was a member of the NH Child and Family Services, the New Hampshire Audubon, the Greater Manchester Development Commission and board member and treasurer of the Ogunquit Museum of Art.
Most recently, Mark owned and operated an investment management company, New Castle Investment Advisors LLC, located in Portsmouth, N.H.
Mark was predeceased by his mother, Anne (aka Nancy) and brother, Bill.
Mark leaves behind many family members including Terri's sons, Steven (Katie) and Keven, two grandchildren, and his beloved Terri.
"Throughout his career, the former Securities Bureau director and gubernatorial candidate had a strong desire for justice and fairness"
"When people talk about Mark Connolly, the words that come to mind most often are ethical, moral compass, public servant and just one of the nicest people you’d ever meet."
"He was an excellent public servant who loved life and enjoyed every moment of his life...Mark was a wonderful friend, committed public servant and a man of great integrity"
Help honor Mark Connolly’s exemplary lifetime of community service by paying forward “The best legacy any of us can leave behind”
Mark Connolly’s life was full of numerous accomplishments. But Mark was a modest man who preferred to focus on others rather than on himself. He quietly gave back to the community he loved as a public servant, businessman, board member, philanthropist, mentor, patron of the arts, and much more.
Mark wrote about the importance of giving back to one’s community in an opinion piece published on March 29, 2015 entitled “Elizabeth and Fred Crory: Model N.H. Public Servants.” In 1978, when he was a junior at Dartmouth College and a New Hampshire state representative, he could not afford to continue to attend college. Mark described how Elizabeth and Fred Crory stepped in and gave him the opportunity to work over the summers so that he could stay in school. This experience launched Mark’s long history of paying forward the assistance that was provided to him.
There are no better words to describe the purpose of the Mark Connolly Legacy Scholarship Fund than Mark’s own words:
“An important lesson I learned when I was 22 years old is that others stepping in and providing a hand up can truly make all the difference in a young person’s life… Fred and Elizabeth Crory exemplified what is best about New Hampshire. They offered me — a financially struggling college student — the opportunity of a lifetime. They also left it up to me to work hard, to follow through, and the responsibility to make the best of an opportunity. Had they not given me that chance at a critical juncture of my life, I would never have been able to later give back as a public servant. Fred and Elizabeth Crory instilled in me a sense of service, commitment and community, and I know they did so in many others as well. Ultimately, that is the best legacy any of us can leave behind.”
The Mark Connolly Legacy Scholarship Fund is an opportunity to honor the memory, spirit, and deeds of Mark by “providing a hand up” to assist young people with their education so that they too can succeed and serve their communities. We lost Mark much too soon, but his Fund will continue to give back to the community, as Mark would have done.