George W. Conner, 80, auto body shop owner


George W. Conner, the former owner of a Dundalk auto body shop and World War II tank gunner who fought across Europe with the 2nd Armored Division, died from complications of a broken hip Monday at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Baltimore. He was 80 and lived in Bel Air.

Mr. Conner was born and raised in Dundalk and attended Sparrows Point High School until the 11th grade, when he left school to work, driving a coal truck for his father.

He enlisted in the Army in 1943. He served as a tank driver and later as a gunner.

While in Europe, he was interviewed by Louis Azrael, a war correspondent with the Baltimore News-Post, who wrote that Mr. Conner had been described by senior officers as "the best tank gunner in the battalion."

He told the correspondent that after participating in an attack that killed several German officers and soldiers who were planning an artillery attack, he felt "shaky all over, but if I hadn't gotten them, they sure as heck would have gotten us."

"It was amazing. He could always remember everything about the war," said his daughter Laurie S. Conner of Baldwin.

After returning to Baltimore in 1946, he and his brother, Gerald Conner, established Conner's Motors, a body shop on Dundalk Avenue. They later moved the business to Turners Station after being displaced by the construction of Interstate 95. He retired in 1997.

Mr. Conner was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and was an avid fisherman.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Charles S. Zeiler and Son Funeral Home, 6224 Eastern Ave.

Mr. Conner is survived by his wife of 58 years, the former Ruth Brown-Lee; two other daughters, Georgene L. Citrano of Fallston and Sharon Bowman of Owings Mills; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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