Bret passed away peacefully on October 8, 2009 with his family at his side; he was born on October 10, 1957. Bret was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in February 2006. His 3 ½ year battle with this disease was a journey for his family, friends, and caregivers that shall forever enrich our lives. His silent courage, positive attitude, and persistence showed us all how to live.
Bret was an All State football player for Hackett Catholic Central, Kalamazoo, Michigan (class of 76). He is a graduate of Indiana University - Bloomington. He went on to a successful career in the group health insurance business. Bret became widely known for his creativity in solving complex problems, and then getting everyone to work together. He consistently found ways to save clients money, and to efficiently improve the health benefits for employees and their families. Bret was a strong advocate of preventive medicine, workplace wellness, and disease management. He often designed benefit plans to fund these programs long before it became popular to do so.
Bret's family resides in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Chris, and his three sons of whom he is extremely proud, Kyle (23), John (20), and Sam (16). He's also survived by his brother Shawn Connors (Joanne), sisters Kelly Kinney (Scott), Megan Haan (Scott), and his mother, Martina Connors. He was preceded in death by his father, John Connors. Bret will be missed by his beloved nieces Taylor Kinney, Ashley, and Abigail Montag, and his nephew Austin Montag. There was also a lot of love for the Connors' Cousins, his mother and father-in-law, Sam and Sheila Johnson, his beloved sister-in-law, Rebecca Johnson, and all the Johnson family.
Bret lived a full and energetic life. Everyday was an adventure, an opportunity to meet new friends, see and experience new things, and enjoy every moment. He loved watching his sons John and Sam play soccer, and Kyle swim. He snow skied in the Rocky Mountains at every opportunity and even between chemo treatments. He spent lots of time these last several years fishing on the Sea of Cortez off the Baja Peninsula. If you met him for 10 minutes you'd feel his magic, and know you just made a life long friend. And many of his friendships have lasted his entire life.
Bret was taken from us much too early. His smile, kind heart, encouraging words, and his joy of life are gifts we can hold dear, and take with us until we're reunited.
According to Bret's wishes his internal organs were donated to advance pancreatic cancer research. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be sent to support pancreatic cancer research at TGen. If you would like to make an online donation to Bret's Memorial in support of pancreatic cancer research, please click here.