Born January 13th, 1886 in Arkansas, he was the son of Elbert and Lillian McConnell. He moved at an early age to Wichita Falls, TX area where his father worked as a carpenter. In September of 1898 when McConnell was 12-years-old, he accompanied his five member family as they crossed into Indian Territory searching for a future like many other pioneer families of the time. Like most early day settlers, they continued to shift around the untamed area looking for that "perfect place".
McConnell became "legal age" during the same year Oklahoma received statehood, 1907. He assisted, as an elected board member, in creating the three school districts and participated in many civic activities that were necessary to form this new state in it's infancy. His interest and hard work in putting together a school system for the state, brought a special reward for him. In 1912, he married Zona Lee Cowan who was a young school teacher. To this union was born a daughter, Juanita (Mrs. Al Hubbard).
The same year their new daughter was born, McConnell was severely injured in a farm accident that would have totally handicapped a normal person. He refused to accept the doctor's opinion that he would never walk again and overcame, in his own way, the injury that had left him with crushed legs and pelvis. McConnell proved to himself and others that he was a full contributor to society when he harvested 15 acres of cotton after the accident by himself, on crutches.
During WWII he "did his part" working at Tinker AFB as a mechanic while his wife worked sewing parachutes. At the close of the war, he and his son-in-law, Allen Hubbard, opened two new businesses in Altus. Al and Juanita Hubbard operated the Hubbard Music Center in the front of the building while McConnell, using the woodworking skills he learned from his carfpenter father, operated a cabinet and wood finishing shop in the rear. This family partnership lasted for many years and McConnell turned out many fine pieces of woodwork, to include 20 ornate clocks done in rich hardwoods faced with brass and silver.
McConnell's many years in the Altus area as a contributing citizen are still well-known although, he at over 100-years-old, has outlived most of his "old friends". The Altus Times, on several occasions, has had the opportunity of relating his "story" in their lifetimes portion of the paper. In 1979 his wife, Zona Lee, died and he continued to live an active life with his daughter Juanita until his death.
Funeral services have been set for Tuesday morning at 10:00 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church officiated by the Reverend Don Johnson. Burial will be in the Altus City Cemetery under the direction of Lowell Funeral Home.
Survivors include: his daughter, Juanita Hubbard of Altus, OK; two grandchildren, Don Hubbard of Houston, TX and Tom Hubbard of Bartlesville, OK; three great-grandchildren, Sarah and Rebecca Hubbard of Houston, TX and Bill Hubbard of Bartlesville, OK; nieces, Mary Jo Nelson and Monteray Nelson of Oklahoma City, OK, Bess Biesecker of Layton, Utah, Ann Huggins of Santa Maria, CA, Beatrice Willis of Scottsdale, AZ and Mary Barkley of St. Helens, OR; nephews, Bill Nelson, Raymond and Dr. Earl Cowan, of Oklahoma City, OK, John Cowan of Ardmore, OK, Jess Hodges and Frank Hodges of Amarillo, TX, John Hodges of Scottsdale, AZ and Bernard McConnell of Fresno, CA.
First United Methodist Church
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