Vale John Connor

Vale John Connor

It is with heavy hearts that the Association has learned of the passing of Life Member #21 John Connor. John joined Parramatta Referees’ in 1960. Almost immediately, he began to immerse himself in the operations of the Association. In 1961, he became Junior League delegate and soon after joined the Social Committee in 1962.

These early forays into serving the Association were just the beginning of a marked contribution to Parramatta Referees’ throughout the forthcoming decades. John took on leadership roles as Vice President (1966-1967, 1970-1972 & 1979-1982) and Senior Vice President (1976-1978), providing invaluable support to members and helping to steer the Association to very successful periods both on and off the field.

Outside of these most noted roles, John served the Association on the Social Committee (1962, 1968 & 1970-1972), as Social Treasurer (1963-1965), as an Auditor (1970-1971), as Social Secretary (1966) and on the Appointments Board as the Secretary (1971). Evidently, his participation in Association life was widespread, all the while, developing his on-field career.

John rose quickly through the ranks on the field as he was graded to the NSW ranks in 1964 as member #570. He had a long and substantial career as a Touch Judge in grade. In 1969, he made his 1st grade debut as a Touch Judge in the round 12 encounter between Parramatta & Penrith at Cumberland Oval. He went on to amass a total of 192 first grade matches. Highlights along the way included the City vs Country 2’s match in 1972, the AMCO Shield Final alongside the NSW vs QLD Interstate match in 1979 as well as NSWRL Reserve Grade Grand Finals in 1975 (Parramatta vs Cronulla) and 1980 (Parramatta vs Canterbury).

John made a significant contribution as a member of the NSWRLRA. His service included, but was not limited to the Social Committee and the Association Committee during the 1970/80’s. The combination of his on-field achievements and his years of outstanding membership led to him being named a Life Member of the NSWRLRA in 1985.

Even as recently as 2023, John was still a regular attendee of association meetings and functions. For John, refereeing helped form many staunch friendships, most namely with fellow Life Members Ian McCall and Max Dunn. The trio are considered to be part of a select group that form the upper echelons of membership, those that have dedicated their lives to refereeing in the district.

The Association sends its condolences to John’s wife Robyn and the entire Connor family. Some of which who have also been members in years gone by. John’s contribution to Parramatta Referees’ and refereeing in general has been impactful and enduring. He will be sorely missed.