West Des Moines – John passed away Tuesday, March 29, 2022, after years of health struggles culminating in a short fight with cancer.
John was born July 2, 1966, and adopted days later by Dr. Robert J. and Mary Margaret Connair. With his red hair and lanky frame, there was no denying that he was not from the same gene pool, but he completed the family with his sunny and funny demeanor. He attended Sacred Heart and Dowling High School and attended Des Moines Area Community College, where he was a photographer for the student newspaper.
There was no daredevilry he would not attempt, and he endured the physical consequences with bumps, bruises and the occasional broken bone. At age 11, he and his go-kart wound up pinned beneath an MG, his first introduction to serious pain and days in a burn ward. Where some might have become timid or withdrawn, John became more compassionate and determined to live life to the fullest. His practical jokes and crazy stunts were equally amusing and alarming.
Another accident, when he was 28, altered the course of his life. He was hit by a semi-trailer truck while bicycling home from work and sustained a spinal cord injury. That didn’t keep him from pursuing adventures or developing even tighter bonds with friends and family. Wherever he went, John made lifetime friendships and never hesitated to share a heartfelt “I love you.” He doted on his son, Jonathan Wirtz, and spent many happy years with his former wife, Kim Frees, and her children and grandchildren. In recent years, he also was a faithful companion and chauffeur for his mother. And he loved his pets, Dazy the dog and Puppy the cat.
He was a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan and enjoyed collecting antiques, hanging out at Cattoors, and listening to live music. John loved to fish and got up early to do so. He was always quick with a quip. When a train crash derailed a family vacation, he told a reporter it “sounded like a tornado.” During his recent stay at Methodist Hospital, a nurse came in to check his swallowing response. When she offered him applesauce, he asked “Where’s the pork chop?” That question summed up John’s approach to life. He always wanted more.
John is preceded in death by his father, Dr. Robert J. Connair, infant siblings John Kevin and Kevin Patrick, and grandparents. He is survived by his mother, Mary Margaret Connair; son, Jonathan Wirtz; sister, Kathe Connair; brother, Robert Connair (Samantha); stepchildren David and Justen Evans and Lacey Blayer; and a large and loving extended family. He will be deeply missed.
The family will honor his life with a visitation Sunday, April 3, from 5 to 7 p.m., at Brooks Funeral Care, 7975 University Blvd., Clive. A funeral mass will be held Monday, April 4, at 10 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 1627 Grand Ave., West Des Moines.
Contributions may be directed to the family or the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. You may watch the live stream HERE: https://player.vimeo.com/video/694438215 This link will remain active after the live stream, you watch the recorded service.