Tribute to Joe Connor
Joe Connor 24-08-1941 to 08-08-2017
‘A True Gentleman’
It is with great sadness and regret we announce that one of the most reputable feed technologists, Joe Connor, died on August 8th 2017 of aggressive liver cancer.
Joe was born in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland in 1941. He got his City & Guilds in flour milling and started his career with J Clow in Belfast. Joe’s potential was quickly recognised and he was taken on and trained by Henry Simon, to service the UK feed industry. In January 1962 the company sent him to Holland with Rick Bailey to help commission the CHV in Veghel. This was one of the largest feed mills of its time and although the job was only meant to last a few months this is where Joe met his wife to be, Petra, and where he would spend the next 15 years of his life. However, soon after his engagement, the company sent Joe to CPM in Crawfordsville, Indiana, USA where he teamed up and shared accommodation with the owner’s son Tom Meakin for the next 15 months. It was there that Joe started to develop his much respected knowledge of the pelleting industry; working in research, engineering, and visiting mills all over the USA.
This trip cemented his loyalty to both Petra and CPM, and in 1965 Joe returned to Holland for CPM – Europe and their new factory in Amsterdam. Joe was often called on to use his knowledge and experience to fine tune pelleting processes all over Europe, working with colleagues like Aad Vom Hofe, supporting clients and representatives alike. During this period he married Petra and they settled down in Hilversum near Amsterdam, with their two sons, Tom and David.
In 1977 Joe and his family relocated to England for CPM-UK, settling in Lancaster. Once again, he built great relationships with his colleagues Ron Timothy, Robin Crossley, and Brian Dexter. It was his working relationship with Brian that was to take Joe into what is probably his most recognised role. In 1980 Joe and Brian saw an opportunity to utilise their knowledge and experience, combined with the flexibility and quality of bespoke European manufacturers, such as Graf, La Meccanica, Eisenegger, VAV and Van Geelen. They became one of the first independent suppliers and consultants to the animal feed industry, forming CONDEX Ltd (CONnor & DEXter). Petra, and eventually Tom and David all joined in this family-run business, which continues to service the industry to this day.
In 1992, Joe returned to Holland to work as Sales Director for HeemHorst mill builders in Deventer, while his sons Tom and David continued with CONDEX. In 1995 Joe returned to Lancaster and bought established mill building company Qual-Rect. His final great working achievement will have been his involvement in the sale, design and commissioning of the Hassell & Hughes wood pelleting plant in Tennessee, USA with son David, before he retired in 2006.
The statement that stands out amongst all the tributes paid to Joe since his passing is that he was a ‘true gentleman’ – I think he would be happy with that!