A spiritual high C with perfect pitch soul, February 22, 2023, thus heralding the moment when Richard “Dick” McConnell’s earthly life ended. It was a life well-lived. He was born in Nevada, Iowa on December 7th, 1931 and is survived by his children, Patricia (Monk Elmer) Michael (Becky), as well as his niece Christine Meister, his grandchildren Keegan, MacKenzie, Quinn Elmer and Joshua McConnell, and great-grandaughters Lumi and Jousi. He was preceded in death by his wife, Peg McConnell in 2006.
His legacy for the “gift of gab” lives on in his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, as does his uncanny musicality. Music, played from the heart and without sheet music, was a joy he shared with anyone willing to listen.
He prepared his children for life by making them aware (at times incessantly) of the concepts of accountability and hard work. He loved them dearly, but as a “man of the 50s” he struggled at times with the words to express that love.
He served in the military as a musician and was a proud member of the 29th Army Band. (Okinawa-1955-56). Dick enjoyed regaling anyone willing to listen with tales of his musical accomplishments over the years:
His jazz combo days in Okinawa, coupled with his keen business sense, allowed him to turn a sizeable profit performing in officer’s clubs and other arranged gigs!
His love of Chuck Mangione’s music led to an eventual friendship with Chuck that he cherished till his dying day.
His doting wife, Peggy Sue, would smuggle his horn into restaurants and nightclubs, hide it under the table and then pull it out to get Dick up onto the stage.
In his declining years, he rarely complained about physical ailments. He made it through a knee replacement, a neck fracture (Hangman’s) and other injuries needing only an occasional Tylenol. He credited this resilience to his years as an accomplished track/baseball/basketball/football star at Nevada (Iowa) High School. His son with hands of love made a beautiful display of Dick’s track medals and letter jacket that he reminisced upon each day for the last few years of his life. His daughter, who was always there for her daddy, even when she was on the receiving end of his frustrations, gave him love, comfort and peace. When Peggy Sue passed, Patti Ann, promised her that she would care for her father. She did.
The family would ask that those who wish to honor and celebrate Dick’s life journey, tell someone a story to make them laugh or smile. Help children get started in music as he did throughout his life. Find joy in knowing that the immortal elements of his soul are now forever joined with his beloved—Peggy Sue.
A Celebration of Life for Dick will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, July 1, 2023, at First Congregational Church, located at 724 E. South River Street in Appleton, with Rev. Mary Jo Laabs officiating. Interment will follow at Riverside Cemetery. Everyone is invited to attend the visitation which begins at 10:00 AM and will be accompanied by a jazz band to honor Dick's musical background.