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Dr. David  McConnell

Dr. David Marshall "Dave" McConnell

Tuesday, May 11th, 1937 - Sunday, June 7th, 2020
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Obituary

Dr. David Marshall McConnell, EdD, 83, of Kennebunk Beach, Maine, formerly of Harwinton, Connecticut, died peacefully Sunday, June 7, 2020 in Biddeford surrounded by his family following a period of failing health.

Dave, to all who knew him, was born May 11, 1937 in Biddeford, Maine, the son of Gerald E. and Mary (Marie) Arvill Soule McConnell and grew up in Kennebunk. He was a standout student/athlete as a two sport captain/co-captain at Kennebunk High School, where he led the Rams as a quarterback, receiving the football behind a front line that was so large that all wondered how he could possibly see the defense, as a point guard on the basketball team, and was a all-star pitcher on the baseball team, throwing 2 no-hitters, 4 one-hitters and 3 three-hitters while compiling a career record of 20-6 during his four year career. In his senior year, he hurled a no-hit, 13 strikeout game versus OOB to ensure a tie for the league championship with York. It was for his baseball abilities, including a nasty curve and wicked knuckleball, that he was scouted by the Baltimore Orioles during his equally successful Twilight League play.

Opting for his education instead, Dave attended Springfield College, where he earned his Bachelor’s (1961) and Master’s Degree (1967) in Physical Education. He achieved his Sixth Year Administrative Certificate at the University of Hartford in 1981. He culminated his educational journey at Boston University earning his Doctorate in Educational Leadership, Policy and Planning in 1987.

He married his high school sweetheart Carolyn Boothby February 23, 1957, and they settled in Harwinton, CT to raise their family.

He joined the Lewis S. Mills High School in Burlington, CT as a physical education teacher in 1961, and quickly became Athletic Director, Assistant Principal and Principal, while being coach to most of sports teams at the school at one time or another. Most notable was his skilled development and fiery coaching of the Men’s Basketball Program. He led many successful teams known for their intense defensive play, such as the legendary “Cinderella” team of 1969 who were ranked last in tournament seeding and won four amazing come from behind games before losing a heartbreaker in the Final and the 1971 Spartans, a top seeded 19-1team that featured the first team to sport two All-State players. He found great satisfaction and excitement in all his teams always focused on developing the student and athlete for life. He retired in 1990 and was admitted to the LSM Athletic Hall of Fame along with his two All-State players.

Returning to Kennebunk soon there-after, Dave became Headmaster of his beloved alma mater Kennebunk High School. He was so proud to be the leader of the KHS team and dedicated himself to improve not only the facilities but the curriculum ensuring a first class education for his students. His hands on approach coupled with his trust of his core leadership team and an outstanding student body resulted in KHS to a National School of Excellence Award in 1991. He cherished the personal congratulatory note he received from President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara for “representing Kennebunk, a place so dear to our hearts”. He retired in 2001, proud of replaying his debt to a place that laid the foundation for his journey in life.

Pursuing his passion for professional baseball, in 1994, Dave joined the new minor league baseball team that his friend Dan Burke was bringing to Portland ME, the Portland Sea Dogs. He became Director of Game Day Operations/Head of Ushers, a position he held until 2018. During his 25 years with the Sea Dogs, he had the privilege to meet and befriend several AA players and managers that later would become MLB stars. In 2001, Dave joined the Washington Nationals organization, serving as Director of Stadium Security and Head of Ushers at their spring training facility in Viera, FL. a position he held for 16 years. His friends joked that it took him 40 years to finally make it to Major League Baseball. His joy was being able to meet and spend time with his stadium team, MLB players, managers and special guests. Top on his list was an hour and a half chat with his coaching idol Bobby Knight reminiscing about Army Basketball and Knight’s epic fishing trips with Ted Williams, another idol of Dave’s.

Dave loved playing golf and was an active member of Webhannet Golf Club where he forged many life-long friendships with playing partners. He especially enjoyed the Member-Guest and Member-Member Tournaments, the latter he and great friend Joe Whelton won in 1987, earning him the prized green Webhannet jacket.

He was a lifelong passionate Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and New York Giants fan. Much to his chagrin, his three sons and two grandsons all grew up rooting for the Dallas Cowboys, and epic ribbing has occurred over the years.

As the Executive Director of the Kennebunk Beach Improvement Association (KBIA) from 1974 to 2006, Dave was instrumental in developing first class educational and enrichment programs in swimming, sailing, boating, tennis, golf, marine science and arts and crafts at the summer waterfront educational facility. He was a tireless force for fundraising capital to preserve the Strong Cottage and other major improvements such as the installation of the large in-ground pool as well as modernizing the fleet of sailing and power boats. He raised the US flag personally every morning before all arose honoring the country and troops. He dedicated his heart and soul to KBIA for 32 years always looking to find young leaders from Kennebunk and Kennebunk Beach to be counselors and counselors-in-training.


While Dave achieved outstanding success in his professional career, his true underlying talent was as joke and story teller. Name a topic or person and he had the material ready with total and colorful recall. His ability to connect with all people, regardless who they were, was a gift. He knew how to lift and help people in need. Dave had the ability and an immense network to resolve any issue. He never accepted nor would let anyone quit or give anything less than giving 110% to achieve their goals even in defeat. Dave loved the movie “Man of La Mancha” and was driven by the song “The Impossible Dream”. It was his quest right to up to the end.

The members of his surviving family whom he was blessed to see grow and succeed in all their endeavors include his wife of 63 years, Carolyn Boothby McConnell of Kennebunk Beach, his sons James E. McConnell (Sheilah) of West Simsbury, CT, USMC First Sergeant (Ret.) Mark D. McConnell (Amalia) of Yuma, AZ, and Brian S. McConnell (Tracy) of East Granby, CT, a daughter Sharon L. McConnell-Dickerson (David) of Columbus, MS, 3 grandchildren; Keith J. McConnell of Simsbury, CT Gavin and Maeve McConnell, both of East Granby, CT , and five nieces.

They are all grateful that he has been reunited with his Mom and Dad, countless friends and their family members and his two favorite dogs, “ Rebound” and Big “Red” Cowans.

Friends are invited to calling hours 4-6 PM Wednesday, June 17, 2020 at Bibber Memorial Chapel, 67 Summer St. Kennebunk. Please bring a mask to meet CDC requirements of gatherings. A private family service will be held Thursday, with two separate public celebrations of Dave’s incredible life to be scheduled and held in both Connecticut and in Maine when all can gather safely and announced by Bibber Memorial Chapel.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Dave’s memory to The Dr. David M. McConnell Memorial Scholarship Fund, benefitting students of both Lewis S. Mills High School (CT) and Kennebunk High School (ME). The Fund will be managed at Bank of America 240 W Main St, Avon, CT 06001. Please make checks payable to the “Dr. D. McConnell Memorial” and reference “Account 385027179752” in the memo line.
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  • Visitation

    Wednesday, June 17th, 2020 | 4:00pm - 6:00pm
    When
    Wednesday, June 17th, 2020 4:00pm - 6:00pm
    Location
    Bibber Memorial Chapel-Kennebunk
    Address
    67 Summer Street
    KENNEBUNK, ME 04043
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    Location
    Hope Cemetery
    Address
    1 Barnard Lane
    PO Box 211
    KENNEBUNK, ME 04043
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
A private family burial service will be held. A public celebration of David's life will be held when everyone can gather safely and announced by Bibber Memorial Chapel

Donations

Donations are being accepted for: Dr. David M. McConnell Educational Scholarship Fund.

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JD

Jim Dembishack

Posted at 10:12pm
What an outstanding person alway there to help anyone, may you rest in peace, thoughts and prays go out to his family
PK

Priscilla Perkins Kenney

Posted at 08:13am
Many years ago as a young girl just out of high school, I fondly remember a young boy who was often at my mother's home on High Street. He came to play baseball with my two brothers Norman and Henry, but he would also sit and visit with my mother. WE knew his parents Jerry and Marie well as we so often just had to go to Marie's for her lobster rolls and special cake!

These boys were close all through high school, and even after they graduated and left Kennebunk to pursue their own careers they always got together at KHS Class luncheons or the alumni banquet.

I know Dave accomplished many things in his lifetime, but I feel sure his greatest joy in life was his role as husband, father, grandfather and friend.

God speed David. You will be missed.

Priscilla Perkins Kenney
MW

Matt Wannemuehler

Posted at 06:11pm
My condolences to the McConnell family. I had the extreme fortune of being brought under Dave‘s wings during Spring Training 2016 with the Nationals. Dave’s passion for the baseball industry was a driving force in my decision to pursue the same career field of Stadium Operations. Though I only spent four formative months under his guidance, we connected at a level more comparable to long-time friends; I have often called to seek his wisdom and share a quick laugh in recent years following my internship. I will long cherish the memories I shared with Dave during that wonderful spring spent at Space Coast Stadium.

Respectfully,
Matt Wannemuehler
“The Kid From Auburn”
BJ

Bill and Jane

Posted at 01:54pm
We were saddened to hear of Dave's passing. One of our favorite memories of Dave was when Bill played as his partner at the Member/Guest Tournament at Webhannet GC. Our sincere condolences to Carolyn and the family. Bill and Jane Obermeyer
EG

ED GORMAN

Posted at 01:02pm
My heartfelt condolences to the entire McConnell family. Although it has been 54 years since I graduated from Mills and almost that many since I last saw "Nap". He has remained one of the strongest influences on my life. I played basketball for Coach McConnell for 4 years and he taught me so much by leading by example. When I applied to Springfield he took Jeff and myself up to Springfield for a campus visit and introduced us around to many people including Tiger Dunn the football coach. Although neither of us eventually enrolled in Springfield opting for a state School in CT. I always appreciated the effort he took to help me along the way. When I was in US Naval Flight training after college I leaned heavily numerous times on his philosophy of never giving in and trying 110%. It got me through some tough times. His ability to tell a story and lead you into believing it was a serious lesson was always concealed right up to the final punch line. Example the most efficient way to use TP.
His ability to lead by example was shown time and time again even when it cost us. He once sat a couple of people down for a crucial game for breaking a team rule even when it might have cost us a game. He will be missed by all who knew him and all he touched along the way. His love of all sports was actually both educational and informative. His cry mimicking Jim McKays famous quote about "The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat in The Human Drama of Athletic Competition" never fails to bring a smile to my face.
I feel blessed to have been influenced by such a great man and I do not use those words lightly. Rest in Peace Coach.
Ed Gorman Mills 1966
 

Deb Thom Posted at 07:07pm

Dave was such an entertainer when he was on a roll telling one of his stories. Every time I was lucky enough to see him when visiting his son, Jim, his daughter-in-law, Sheilah ( my cousin) and his grandson, Keith he would have us laughing until we were crying regardless of the subject. I always thought he missed his calling as a comedian but after reading these words from his friends & students I realize it was just his gift of storytelling, shared with everyone that he enjoyed. Dave always filled a room with his ability to connect to people & his obvious love of a great punchline! He will be missed
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