Harold H. McConnell
1935 - 2020
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1935 - 2020

Durango native Harold McConnell died January 3, 2020 at Heartfields Assisted Living in Fredericksburg, Virginia where he had lived since 2015.

Mr. McConnell was born in Durango on July 21, 1935. He attended area schools and graduated from Durango High School in 1953 and received an Associate of Arts Degree from The Fort Lewis Agricultural and Mechanical College (Fort Lewis College) in 1955.

A veteran of the early Cold War, Mr. McConnell enlisted in the United States Army in 1956 and served as a German linguist in the 280th Army Security Agency Company in Berlin, Germany until 1959. Upon his discharge from the Army he returned to Durango to marry his high school sweetheart, Donna Jean Trembly, also from Durango. The couple was married for 21 years before divorcing and then remarrying in 1997. Harold and Donna's two sons, Kevin Mark (1960), and James Jeffrey (1964), were also born in Durango.

Mr. McConnell earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education at Adams State College (Adams State University) in 1963 which launched a career in education spanning more than 30 years. His first teaching job was at Shiprock High School in Shiprock New Mexico where he taught for two years before his teaching career was briefly interrupted when he became the manager of a Montgomery Ward Store in Cortez.

In 1967, Mr. McConnell and his family emigrated to Canada where he had answered a call for teachers in the small town of Athabasca, Alberta, Canada. Over the course of his long career, he taught at several grade levels in elementary, junior high, and high school, also serving as an assistant principal and finally as an elementary school principal. During that time he also earned a Master of Arts Degree in Education from the University of Montana in Missoula, MT. He is remembered fondly by former students, and as an important mentor and friend by many of his fellow educators. He retired in 1995.

When he wasn't teaching, Mr. McConnell was an accomplished carpenter and a skilled electrician and plumber. He used those skills on many renovation projects in the family's homes, as well as the homes and business of friends and acquaintances in Alberta and Colorado. Upon his retirement from education, he returned to Durango and worked for many years in general maintenance at Durango area hotels including the Strater Hotel

Mr. McConnell is survived by his son, Kevin (Michelle) of Stafford, VA; grandson Raymond (Jessica), great grandson, Jack, and great-granddaughter, Helen, of Sierra Vista, AZ. He was preceded in death by his Mother and Stepfather, Lottie and Raymond Murray, his wife, Donna (2011), and son James "Jeff" (2014).

The family is especially grateful for the compassionate care Mr. McConnell received from the staff at Sunshine Gardens in Durango where he resided for several years, the staff at Heartfields Assisted Living in Fredericksburg, and the staff at Mary Washington Hospice.

A private interment ceremony is planned at Greenmount Cemetery in Durango for later in the year. Online condolences may be sent to the family at: https://app.myobits.com/obituary/view/30222 Harold H. McConnell

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Durango Herald on Jan. 16, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
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5 entries
January 22, 2020
I really enjoyed working with Harold at the Strater Hotel. He really enjoyed sharing the history and renovation tidbits of the hotel and area with guests and visitors. Everyone had a smile on their faces while on tour with Harold. You will be missed you sweet and gentle man.
Renate Widder
January 22, 2020
So sorry to learn about Harold's passing. Our sympathy to Michelle, Kevin and family. I remember when he and Donna Jean were dating - years ago. I think I remember correctly that his red and while Studebaker Hawk, always immaculate, was his pride and joy and Donna was very proud to drive it. They were a wonderful and happy couple. Harold will be missed by his many friends and family.
Barbara Bennett
January 22, 2020
It can be so hard to face the first year without your loved one, but the love of family and friends can carry you through.
Barbara Benett
January 20, 2020
I'm sad to see this. I was a friend of Blue's and helped take care of Raymond in the last part of his life. I so appreciated the love and respect he difianlty showed. The last time I saw Harold was in Walmart in Durango waiting on the bus to take him back to Sunshine Gardens. For the first time he opened up about his self to me, then said, he was getting ready to make the transition to VA. They both will always hold a special place in my heart. God Bless you all. Mindy Nelsen
January 18, 2020
Deepest condolences Kevin, Michelle and family. Your dad was a kind man.I have fond memories of our families often getting together at our South Hill homes. I remember your dad trying to teach me to drive. I think it only happened once, as he was probably nervous after the 1 lesson. I tried to make a left turn and overdid it and ended up on the sidewalk.I can still remember his laugh.
Sending love and hugs.
Karen MacKeil
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