Editor’s note: Late last month Mark Stuart, president of Brandywine, Va.-based Regency Furniture, sent an email to friends of industry veteran Tim Connors, who died last month at age 66. In it, Stuart recalls Connors’ roles as mentor, associate and dear friend of nearly 40 year, and suggests ways to reach out to the family and pay tribute to an industry leader who is missed. A slightly edited version of Stuart’s letter is reprinted here with permission.
Dear friends of Tim,
By now, most of you are aware Tim Connors passed away Tuesday, January 18, 2022.
The delay in getting this out is due to Tim just having too many friends (if it is possible to have too many friends). I have spent the last two days fielding and returning phone calls, texts, and emails to those who have reached out to offer their sympathy and condolences. The outreach is like nothing I have ever experienced. I’ve been returning calls for two solid days and have only scratched the surface. I promise I will get back to every call and every text. It has been so great talking with so many who loved Tim, hearing stories, and learning how he affected so many so deeply.
Tim lived a charmed life having found the love of his life Shawn Gorden while in high school. A few years later, they were married and his high school sweetheart became his wife. They have been together for 42 years. I was fortunate enough to share a few hours with Tim’s family on Wednesday evening. It was so nice hearing some of their stories and watching some home videos. The Connors family have a true love for one another and it filled the room.
Tim has been a furniture industry leader for 40 years and I was one of the fortunate ones, as I have known Tim for 37 of those years. Tim was hired into Marlo Furniture as operations manager when I was the evening shift pick-up manager. My first interaction with Tim was a night when I received a phone call from the fire department telling me there was a fire in the warehouse. The first thing I did was call Tim. He was almost home from working all day and immediately said “I will meet you there.” I got there about 11 p.m. and Tim arrived shortly thereafter. Well, the fire department was already there and, of course, put out the fire but in the process, boy, what a mess they made. Water everywhere, bay doors broken through, and the front door was pried open with what must have been The Jaws of Life. So, Tim and I spent the next three to four hours getting the place back in order. There we were — Tim and I (can you imagine?) using waterbed plywood (do they even make waterbeds anymore?) to repair the bay door, using pry bars and chains to get the front door back in place, and squeegeeing up what must have been thousands of gallons of water. We didn’t leave until after three in the morning, and Tim and I were both there for roll call later that day. I knew at that point Tim was my kind of leader!
Tim wasn’t my leader for long since he was quickly moved to the buying department where he could use his charisma and now infamous negotiating skills. Tim’s larger than life personality and that quality we all love is his gift that anyone who spoke with him for a few minutes wanted to be his friend. Tim was arguably (Tim liked to use the word “arguably”) one of the best buyers and merchants in our industry. It’s my belief he was the best.
Like many of us, I owe any and all success that I have had in the furniture industry to Tim. I was with Marlo moving around from job to job doing this and doing that within the stores when Tim came to me. He said, “Do you know there is a job posting in the buying office?” I said, “I do” and he asked me why I hadn’t applied for it. I replied, “I hadn’t given it much thought and no one asked.” Then Tim said, “You need to apply.” Of course, how can you refuse when The Big Man himself brings it to your attention? Needless to say, Tim gave me my first buying opportunity which was buying occasional tables and RTA products. Thank you Tim for giving me the opportunity in what I considered to be my first real career position.
After a few years stint on “The Dark Side,’ Tim came back to the world of retail as the merchandise manager for Regency Furniture. It was so great to have Tim back on ‘Our Side’ and it allowed me to travel with him again and get to know him even better. Tim and I traveled to most all markets together but the one I liked traveling with him to the best was Tupelo. Yes, that’s right, I said it, Tupelo! Aside from finding some great furniture buys, on the way out we would buy a box or two of baseball cards from the flea market for the hour and a half ride back to the airport. I would open packs of cards and randomly quiz Tim about player stats, team affiliates, records held, and more and the man knew all the answers. On the rare occasion he did not know the answer right off, I would give him a little clue and BAM he had the answer. We all know about his amazing knowledge of our furniture industry but his incredible knowledge of sports history is nearly as amazing. I will sorely miss traveling with my friend and wingman — or was I the wingman?
Tim’s stories go on and on and I would love to tell more of them but we can share at another time. However, one act of kindness I am requesting from you all is to take a moment and share a personal note with Shawn and the Connors family. The idea behind this is to take a few minutes and write a short note (or a long note) sharing something about the personal relationship between you and Tim. I know when my mother passed away and we received condolence cards, the ones with a personal note attached were the ones remembered most. I loved to learn of the sender’s relationship with my mother. Likewise, your words can help Shawn and the family learn how much the furniture industry loved Tim.
Please, mail the card, note, or letter to Shawn Connors at 50 Victoria Square, Frederick, MD, 21702.
At this time, there will not be a service but when the weather warms up, Shawn and her family plan to hold a celebration of life in Tim’s honor. A date and time may be selected in April or May and everyone will be invited to come together to drink a beer or maybe join in a shot or two of Tim’s favorite — Dewar’s! When a date is decided, I will get the word out.
Tim’s favorite charity is the Children’s Cancer Foundation and in lieu of flowers please consider making a donation in Tim’s memory here. Be sure to click the “In Memory Of” box and enter Tim’s name.
While talking with Shawn and the kids, I learned that a Go Fund Me page has been set up to help cover bereavement costs. If you feel you would like to participate, please check out their Go Fund Me page.
Tim will be deeply missed but never forgotten. His legacy will live on through our love of the man and the many stories and tales we will tell.
God bless and God keep.