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