How does one sum up a life with so much impact on those he met? Sometimes the impact was simple — strangers reacting to him dancing with his wife, Carmela, and saying how adorable they were together; or families getting loved ones back from being lost after his search & rescue team found them.
Other times, that impact was enormous. Ed Conning, Crazy Ed, Tom or E Thomas Conning, lived by a mantra that Weird Al Yankovic summed up in his song “I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead.” One could observe this lifestyle and mindset after spending 30 minutes with him. His impact on the local, kayaking and dancing communities and especially, his family, leaves those groups devastated by his death.
We’re comforted, to an extent, by how he died — as he lived. Ed died May 27, 2018, while doing one of the things he loved — kayaking. Dying, “this way,” was his preference. Ed was diverse and passionate. Some passions were dancing, Search & Rescue, and living life. More importantly, he adored the love of his life of 43 years, Carmela. It was evident, even to people who didn’t know them as a couple.
The Connings moved to Cody in 1992 and Ed donated his time by giving dance lessons, serving as an EMT, as a 20-year member of Park County’s Search & Rescue team, working with scouting groups and helping with sports and youth groups.
Ed’s Army service defined him. He was in the Army from 1972 to 1975 with Special Forces, Ranger and Airborne qualifications, then he served in the Montana and Utah national guards from 1975 to 1980.
Instead of flowers, send donations to the Park County, Wyoming or Carbon County, Montana Search & Rescue teams, the Mining Department of Montana Tech., or the Wild West Paddle Club. Or, volunteer — use your talents to make our community better.
Those who loved him knew this day would come, but no one was ready for him to go — not yet … and it is apparent, from all the outpouring of support from friends, family and all others impacted by Ed’s deeds, that the rest of the world wasn’t ready to let him go either.
Thank you for the support and if he impacted your life, let the Connings know because we plan on having one hell of a party to celebrate his life.
Details will follow later. “I don’t suffer from insanity … I enjoy every minute of it,” unknown.
Ballard Funeral Home of Cody is in charge of arrangements.