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EDIE MCCONNELL

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Birth Date: 1944
Birth Place: Tucson, Arizona

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Date submitted: October 24, 2006
Gift: Leaf Tile - large
Location on plaza map: C5
Areas of Achievement: Arts, Community Building, Journalism
 
Edith (Edie) McConnell died December 15, 2004. She was born in Tucson, September 11, 1944 to Constance Pease and George E. McConnell. She graduated from Jefferson Park Elementary, Mansfeld Junior High, Tucson High School in 1962 and the University of Arizona in 1966 with a Bachelor of Science degree in home economics and journalism. Some college activities included Spurs sophomore honorary, Mortar Board senior honorary and editorial page editor of the Daily Wildcat.

From 1966 to 1967 she was a general assignment reporter and copy editor for the Bethlehem (Pennsylvania) Globe-Times, and received a Pennsylvania Press Association Award for investigative journalism and a Pennsylvania Press Women\'s Award for feature writing.

She became feature editor, then editor, of Forecast for Home Economics, a monthly magazine for home economics teachers published by Scholastic, Inc. in New York City. There she served on the boards of the New York City chapters of the American Home Economics Association and Home Economists in Business.

Permanently disabled in her late 20ís as the result of a spinal injury, she retired to Tucson in 1975. With her chosen career abruptly ended, Edie quickly became a leader in every area of her busy life and was a vital part of her native Tucson community. In the cultural arena, Edie served as the President and Publicity Chairman of the Tucson Handweavers and Spinners Guild, and editor of its newsletter for 15 years. Her own creations were featured in juried shows in Tucson, Sedona and Tubac.

Edie served on the Board of Directors of the Southern Arizona Opera Guild for 20 years, and was its yearbook and newsletter chairman. Up through the last year of her life, Edie was president of the Tucson Sing-In, Inc. coordinating a community-wide effort to sponsor and produce the Community Messiah Sing-In, a highlight of Tucson\'s holiday season.

Edie served the greater community through her church and her membership in P.E.O., a womenís philanthropical and educational organization. Edie was P.E.O. state chairman of the Faith McKee Fund that supports women in need. She was also the president, corresponding secretary and chaplain of her local chapter.

At Trinity Presbyterian Church, Edie served as a ruling elder for five terms. As chair of the worship committee, she helped plan not only the weekly services but also all special and holiday services. Through her incredible organizational skills, she saw that the communion bread, Thanksgiving cornucopia, Advent and Christmas decorations were up on time. For a woman who could do none of those physical tasks personally, it was a challenge. While chairing the worship committee, Edie also co-chaired a campus renovation project.

Edie McConnell was a woman who could not physically open an ordinary door. Her spinal trauma had resulted in the loss of the use of both hands. Over time she was able to use two fingers with the help of a special brace. Her kidney transplants kept her health precarious and yet her friends never knew it. Triumphing over her handicaps, using her creative brain and incredible heart, Edie led, directed and contributed mightily to the non-profit organizations she served on a truly full-time basis. On the move in her specially equipped car, Edie cheerfully gave of her time and incredible talents while inspiring all who were lucky enough to know her.

Forced by circumstances to change the direction of her life, Edie McConnell challenged each of us to see a person\'s true worth and not be blinded by appearances. Getting through the tough days with humor and grace, Edie showed that leadership is positive action, and that true power is in the hearts of givers. Her handicaps not only gave her personal opportunities for growth but also encouraged others to stretch their own vision of what is possible. As her personal needs caused those around her to work to eliminate physical barriers, we were reminded that all barriers that keep people apart must come down if we are to live in a world that offers peace, justice, freedom and dignity to all. Edie met all of the challenges of her life with courage, endurance and character.