Janice M. W. Connally
June 22, 1928 – February 9, 2019
Janice Muriel Wegner was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the younger daughter of Arnold A. and Dora (née Mueller) Wegner. She showed an early interest and ability in drawing and painting. Janice graduated from Wauwatosa High School (1946) as Salutatorian and served as the Editor of the school newspaper. In 1950, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin (Madison) with a BA in Art History, where she was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Societies, and the Tri-Delta sorority. She continued her art history studies in Cambridge earning a Master of Fine Arts from Radcliffe in 1951.
She met Ernest A. Connally in the Fogg Library studying for the same exam. They were married on August 28, 1951. While Dr. Connally was an Associate Professor of Architectural History at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, they had two children. When Dr. Connally joined the National Park Service as Associate Director of the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation in 1967, they moved to Alexandria, VA.
Over the years, Mrs. Connally worked at St. Stephen’s School in Alexandria as an Art History teacher and at Ferris & Company as an administrative assistant. She enjoyed gardening, flower arranging, painting and shared her husband’s interest in historic preservation. She studied painting, lithography and watercolor with Ross Merrill, Francesco Spicuzza, Alfred Sessler and Tony Couch, exhibiting her artwork at The Torpedo Factory, River Farm, Cosmos Club, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Mt. Vernon Hospital, and the Alexandria YMCA.
She was a member of Riverport Garden Club (arranging the flowers for the Robert E. Lee Boyhood Home), The Apothecary Shop, Smithsonian Women’s Association, Cosmos Club (Associate Member), The Art League, The Alexandria Association, The Athenaeum and MAPAPA (Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association).
On October 13, 1982, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts held public hearings on the Compromise Additions of Statue and Flag to the Vietnam War Memorial. Mrs. Connally spoke as a citizen in support of Maya Lin’s design and against any changes or additions. The transcript can be found at http://digital.lib.lehigh.edu/trial/vietnam/files/round4/brodniak.pdf. All the speakers were filmed as part of the public record.
Freida Lee Mock, the writer and director of “Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision” (1994), selected Mrs. Connally’s eloquent and insightful testimony to include in her documentary. Decades later, Ken Burns & Lynn Novick at Florentine Films honored Mrs. Connally by including her testimony in their epic documentary “The Vietnam War: A Film by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick” (2017). She appears in Episode 10 “The Weight of Memory.”
Ernest A. Connally died on December 23, 1999. Janice is survived by her children Mary Connally (Robert Martini) of New York City and John Connally, PhD., (Noelle Cosentino) of Los Gatos, CA and granddaughter Miranda Martini of New York City.
St. Paul's Foundation
228 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria VA 22314