Alanna Connors, 56, wife and mother, devoted scientist

Obit-Connors-2-28Alanna Connors, 56, of Arlington, Mass., died on Feb. 2 at home in the arms of her family.

The beloved wife of Phillip Alan Veatch and loving mother of Roy Micah Veatch,  she filled all of her life exploring the wonders of the world and sharing her smile and caring with friends, relatives, colleagues, and strangers, her family said.

She was born in Hong Kong but grew up in Greenwich and attended Parkway School and Central Junior High School. She was a Girl Scout, a counselor in the Mariners sailing program at Greenwich’s Tod’s Point, an explorer at the Greenwich Audubon, a member of the choir at the Round Hill Community Church, and her elaborate gingerbread houses won awards at the Round Hill Community House’s craft fairs. In 1974 she graduated from Greenwich High School where she was involved in music, theater, and the math team.

Ms. Connors received her undergraduate physics degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1978 and a doctorate in astrophysics at the University of Maryland in 1988, writing a thesis on Fast X-ray Transients, based upon research conducted at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. She went on to make significant contributions to the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory. As a longtime advocate of rigorous data analysis, she introduced many people to the joys of Bayesian statistics and was a research scientist at the Space Science Center at the University of New Hampshire, and a visiting professor at Wellesley College.

Ms. Connors is survived by her mother, Sonia Connors of Arlington, Mass.; sisters Cynthia Connors of Brooklyn, N.Y., Kathleen Connors of Hau’ula, Oahu, Hawaii, and Noirin Connors of London, England; and her brother, Patrick Connors of New York, N.Y. Her father, Richard B. Connors of Greenwich, died in 2002.

A celebration of her life will be held at Wellesley Friends Meeting, Wellesley, Mass., on Saturday, March 2, at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to the American Friends Service Committee, 1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.

— by the staff

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