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In Memoriam

Butch ConnBernard Z. "Butch" Conn was born September 25, 1940 in Newport News, Virginia, the son of Doris Spitzer and Leon Conn and was raised in Washington. D.C. Butch died on Monday, August 22, 2005 of lung cancer.

A graduate of Howard University in Washington, D.C., Conn was a community activist, and worked in the Civil Rights Movement in the '60s, participating in demonstrations for equal rights, working for voters' rights during the Freedom Summer, and helping to organize the March on Washington. He was an active member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and was dedicated to seeing that the rights of others were respected.

Butch lived in Kenya, East Africa, while researching the oral history of the Kamba people. Upon returning to the United States in 1973, he and his family settled first in Delmar and then in Schenectady.

He worked for the Department of Parks and Recreation and Historic Preservation for many years, bringing arts and culture to communities throughout New York State.

Upon retirement in 1993, Butch worked part time as Director of Development for the Albany/Schenectady League of Arts, followed by employment with Proctor's Theatre and 440 State Street, where he focused on the creation of an arts district in downtown Schenectady.

Butch was best known as the founder of A Place For Jazz (APFJ), an organization dedicated to bringing world-class jazz artists to the Capital Region. Through his work with APFJ, Butch became a well-known and well-loved music presenter and will be truly missed by jazz performers and jazz lovers in the Capital Region.

Butch leaves behind his wife, Miki Conn, two daughters, Lisa Robinson and Rachel Conn, a son, Anthony Conn, and four granddaughters, Nicole and Karysse Robinson, Sequoia Conn and Imara James. He was also the father of Marcus Conn, who died in 1996. Butch leaves behind a large extended family and lots of dear friends.

A Memorial Celebration was held for Butch Conn at the First Unitarian Society of Schenectady on Wendell Ave. on Saturday, September 17, 2005.

Contributions can be made in his name to A Place for Jazz, P.O. Box 1059, Schenectady, NY 12031, and the Hamilton Hill Arts Center, 409 Schenectady Street, Schenectady, NY 12307.