Hugh Connelly was born and raised in Sacramento, California. He came to Alaska in 1949 and got a job as a section hand with the Alaska Railroad. He eventually became a locomotive fireman. Hugh met his wife, Sandra, in December 1951 on a blind date with two other people. They married in 1952 and moved to Fairbanks. After his work for the railroad, Hugh began working as a law clerk with local Fairbanks attorneys Bob McNealy and Ed Merdes. Hugh passed the Alaska Bar Exam without ever taking law school classes and began his judicial career in 1958. He was appointed a district magistrate and was later appointed as a district court judge. Hugh served as a judge in Fairbanks from 1968 to his retirement in 1987. Hugh passed away in 2012 at the age of 84. For more about Hugh Connelly, see his obituary in the Fairbanks Daily News Miner.