John was born on August 15, 1946 and died on May 28, 2016. He was 69. John attended public schools at Bernard Terrace, Westdale and Baton Rough High; graduating in 1964. He received two bachelor's degrees from LSU. John was especially proud of his Eagle Scout achievement. John did his basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia in 1971 and served in the Army Reserve. John began his teaching career with one year in Oconee County, Georgia. He moved back to Baton Rouge and taught at Brighton Academy and spent the rest of his teaching career with his fifth graders at the Baton Rouge Center of Visual and Performing Arts. Teaching fifth graders at BRCVPA was a career he thought he was created for. He loved his students and especially being involved in their learning. John's father, Francis McConnell was born in Brownsville, Miss, and died in 1966. John's mother, Marie Jackson McConnell was born in Baton Rouge and died here in 1962. With these deaths early in his life, his Aunt Juliet and Uncle John Lewis became his surrogate parents. His brother, Mcburnty lived only one day. John's cousins, South, Andy, Martha and Bob became his surrogate siblings. In 1990 he married Peggy and became a step-father to Rick and Cindy Perry. This added two grandchildren, Chris and Rikileigh. Chris married Amy and thus John became a great grandfather to Quinn Perry. John started a spiritual journey 26 years ago that changed his life, and brought Peggy and him to St. Albans Episcopal Chapel where they got involved in the campus ministry. There, they were involved with C.S. Lewis lunches during the school year with the LSU students. He loved this spiritual journey so much that he spent a lot of time sharing what he was experiencing with others. John opened his arms and his humor to anyone who stood before him. He had circle after circle of friends from every walk of life. Visitation will be Thursday, June 2, at Rabenhorst Funeral Home located at 825 Government Street from 6 PM until 8 PM. The funeral will be on Friday, June 3 at St. Alban's Chapel on Highland Road with visitation from 10 AM until the service at 11 AM. Graveside services will follow at Roselawn Memorial Park. Pallbearers will be Mike McIndoe, Mike Glisson, Rich Johnson, Ben Peabody, Andy Lewis and Bob Lewis. Honorary pallbearer will be Charles Heard. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be sent to St. Alban's Chapel. The family would like to thank the many friends of Bill Wilson who have been so supportive, both in presence at the hospital, and with feeding the family.
Published in The Advocate from May 31 to Jun. 3, 2016.