June 17, 1921 – October 13, 2006
Advocate and Member Mary Claire Connors’ Mother
Grace Connors graduated from West Pittston High School and was a member of Immaculate Conception Church, West Pittston, PA.
She was beautiful inside and out, devoted to her family and lived an active life, supporting political campaigns, pursuing a strong appreciation for the arts and attending to her civic duties. She was a coordinator for the Red Cross during the flood of 1972. She was an officer of the retired National Association of Federal Employees Union, Pittston Chapter.
Tragically, Mom suffered horribly and needlessly the last five years of her life under unlawful public guardianship through the County Orphans Court, which was in appeal when she died.
For over 2 ½ years, I was not allowed to visit her at the nursing facility holding her captive. During this time, Mom, suffering from dementia, thought I deserted her and didn’t love her anymore. (Under my one on one care with unlimited medical/health resources, her dementia had improved and further improvement was expected until the unlawful guardianship claimed dominion over her completely thereby enforcing a slow but steady decline.) By the time these brief and regulated visits were allowed, my Mom had deteriorated so much, I didn’t recognize her.
Because her family was her first priority, the court’s ordered isolation with only limited contact with her granddaughter and only in the office of the corporate nursing facility under supervision, was so very punitive to her.
The closer we got to appeal date, the quicker she declined as the alleged guardian, kept relating that Mom was dying for several months. In spite of being told, allegedly by the so called guardian, that “your daughter is selling your house out from under you” (totally false), Mom only believed her for a day or so and then be right back to talking positively about me. Near the end, when the alleged public guardian agency was becoming fearful of a wrongful death suit, I was offered the guardianship.
Mom was a strong and determined woman but she couldn’t hold out long enough to regain her freedom and rights — both unlawfully stolen from her. She held on as long as she could but in the end, her only release — her freedom was gained by her death. She was dehydrated and starved to death after all of her teeth were removed; she died skin and bones after we were forbidden to give her water when she asked for it.
She was my best friend. She was a loving wife and mother, a kind person, and followed the law and advice from AARP, attorneys, etc. by making a Durable Power of Atty. and designating me as her atty.-in-fact, which she never revoked. She had Long Term Care Insurance, etc. My father was a WWII veteran; they paid all their taxes and lived honest good lives instilling the same values in their children.
The court used no evidence — only hearsay, to destroy and punish her with the orders that benefited only corporate interests, and some “good ole boys and girls” at the expense of her, her legacy, her family and the taxpayers/citizens.
I am compelled to speak, write and inform citizens of this atrocity in the hope that enough exposure of such heinous predatory hidden practices can be stopped by public outcry and action. I will be forever affected by the long term trauma & loss that was unimaginable as an American citizen.
In addition to her husband, James G. Connors, who died in 1986, she was preceded in death by her daughter, Patricia Connors, who also died in 1986. She is survived by her daughter, Mary Claire, and granddaughter, Keely, who miss her more every day until they meet again in spirit.
It is part of Mom’s legacy to have her and our suffering and losses count for something.It is part of Mom’s legacy to have her and our suffering and losses count for something.