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In celebration of the vibrant life of Helen Joan McConnell, who graced this world with her presence from her birth on February 22, 1933, until she peacefully passed away, we gather to reflect on the joy she brought to those around her. She was known as Joan pronounced as Joann and affectionately called Jo by her husband and his brothers.
Born at her family’s home in London, Texas, Joan was the fourth of eight siblings with whom she shared countless adventures and cherished moments. Raised in Tyler and London, Texas, she graduated from London High School, embarking on a journey that would see her earn a degree in business from Tyler Junior College.
During her time at TJC, Joan proudly donned the precision dance shoes of the Apache Belles, known for their flawless routines and high kicks, and she shined brightly. She worked in Tyler for a bit after graduation, during which time fate had a playful hand in introducing her to Homer Claude McConnell, Jr., originally from Honey Grove, Texas. Though their first blind date did not spark a connection, a second blind date arranged by another set of friends brought them together, and from that moment on, their shared history unfolded 49 years of blissful marriage. Devoted partners in life, they shared a love so deep that it transcended time. Their wedding was on Valentine's Day, a symbol of the enduring bond that united their hearts.
Joan and Homer lovingly raised two children, Mitchell and Michelle, showering them with adoration. Their family expanded to include four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, each of whom was a source of immeasurable joy for Joan. Affectionately known as "EB" (Encyclopedia Britannica) by her brother-in-law, Lloyd, a nod to her profound knowledge and agreeable nature, Joan's impact on her family extended beyond words.
Joan's life was a tapestry woven with threads of wisdom and adorned with the charm of owls. She displayed a unique affinity for these nocturnal creatures that symbolized wisdom and mystery. Friends and family quickly caught on to Joan's love for owls, and soon her birthdays and holidays were marked by thoughtful owl-themed gifts. Those close to her knew that anything with an owl on it would bring a smile to Joan's face.
In addition to her many passions and accomplishments, it's important to note that Joan was an avid Texas A&M fan, injecting her enthusiasm for the Aggies into the vibrant tapestry of her life. A playful rivalry unfolded throughout the years, stemming from the fact that Homer and his two brothers, Ralph and Lloyd, were proud graduates of the University of Texas. This spirited competition added an extra layer of fun and camaraderie to family gatherings, where the clash of maroon and burnt orange ignited laughter and friendly banter.
Joan's unwavering support for the Aggies became a cherished part of her identity, creating lasting memories and lively discussions at family events. Even in the midst of good-natured teasing, her passion for Texas A&M stood as a testament to her joyful spirit and ability to find delight in the camaraderie of friendly rivalry.
A true artisan, Joan dedicated hours to crafting unique, handmade beaded Christmas stockings for each cherished family member. Her faith was unwavering, and alongside Homer, she played an active role in the First Christian Church of Plano where Mitch and Tori were married. Even after Homer's passing, she continued her service as a volunteer in the church office.
In the loving embrace of Heaven, Joan reunites with her beloved husband, parents and siblings, Mary Frances Keeling Tigert, Margaret Keeling Page, James William Keeling, Harold Dean Keeling, and Charles Jackie Keeling, and many other family members, leaving behind a legacy of love and strength. Her memory lives on in the hearts of her children, Mitchell McConnell and his wife, Tori, and Michelle McConnell; grandchildren Travis McConnell, Randi McConnell, Matthew McConnell and Michael McConnell; two great-grandchildren; and siblings Barbara Keeling Smart and Howard Patterson Keeling.
A Life Celebration is scheduled for Friday, February 9, 2024, at 2 pm, preceded by a visitation at 1 pm. A reception will follow the Life Celebration. Joan will find her final resting place beside her beloved husband, Homer, at Restland Cemetery. As we bid her farewell until we see her again, we carry with us the warmth of her spirit, wonderful loving memories and the indelible mark she left on our lives.