James McConnell, Jr.

Obituary of James R McConnell, Jr.

James R. “Jim” McConnell, Jr, beloved father, grandfather, adventurer, traveler, storyteller, and former Seminole Fire and Rescue chief passed away on October 13, 2021 at home at the age of 73. A native of Marlton, New Jersey, Jim served in the United States Navy, where he met his wife Linda, and relocated to Seminole, FL in 1973. He worked in Seminole as an EMT and then a firefighter for sixteen years, serving as the Seminole Fire Chief from 1983 to 1989. He was known to many in Seminole as “Chief,” but to many more as a Rotarian, career mentor, neighbor, humanitarian, and friend. Jim’s reach was not limited to the city of Seminole. Through his extensive travels, outdoor adventures, and boundless curiosity he made lifelong friends everywhere he went. He lived to make connections and create community with others, and encouraged everyone he met to follow their hearts and talents (and to carry a light backpack, which he felt was both good practical and metaphorical advice). Though he wore his Chief and adventurer roles with pride, his favorite role was that of family man. Jim was a devoted father, grandfather, brother, and uncle, and proudly served his family as the storyteller and keeper of traditions. His generosity was as abundant as his ice cream stash--which was no small thing--and his beloved granddaughters always knew who to ask to take a trek in the woods or to bake Christmas cookies with them. Jim is survived by his son Thomas and his family: wife Deanna and granddaughters Margaret, Moira, and Minna; sister Ruth and brother-in-law Ron Staufenberg; sister Dorothy and brother-in-law David Graham; sister-in-law Ellen Caspers; nieces Deanne Ondrovic and Lindsey Caspers and nephew Grant Caspers. He was predeceased by his wife, Linda. He lives on in the hundreds of lives he touched and helped over his full and adventurous life. A viewing will be held at the funeral home on Wednesday, October 20 from 6-8pm. There will be a memorial service at the same location the following morning, Thursday October 21, at 10am and a committal ceremony at Florida National Cemetery at 1:30 pm. Out of respect for Jim’s love of his granddaughters, who are too young to be vaccinated, all attendees at indoor services must be masked regardless of vaccination status. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Florida Symphony Orchestra, The Glacier Institute, The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, or the American Battlefield Trust. If you wish to further honor Jim, he would want you to find a friend, sit outside, and tell stories during a sunset.
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Wednesday
20
October

Visitation

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
R. Lee Willaims & Son Funeral Home
3530 49th Street North
St. Petersburg, Florida, United States
Thursday
21
October

Memorial Service

10:00 am - 11:00 am
Thursday, October 21, 2021
R. Lee Williams & Son Funeral Chapel
3530-49th St. No.
St. Petersburg, Florida, United States
727-527-1177
Thursday
21
October

Interment

1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Thursday, October 21, 2021
Florida National Cemetery
Bushnell
Bushnell, Florida, United States
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