Mary Jane grew up in Chicago, where she attended Calumet High School. She later received her Doctor of Optometry degree from Northern Illinois College of Optometry. While there, she met and later married Dr. Claude Hardison McConnell in 1950. Together they moved to Davidson, where they began their first practice on Main Street.
Dr. McConnell was devoted to her family, patients and her community. Dr. Mary Jane and Dr. Claude practiced Optometry in Davidson and Mooresville for 40 years. Her passion was the visual care of children. For years, she worked tirelessly in Raleigh as the NC Legislative Representative for Eye Health Care and as a member of the American Optometric Association.
Dr. Mary Jane gave over 20 years of service internationally, offering her skills to patients in Bolivia SA, Nairobi, Africa, Haiti, Guatamala, Mexico and Honduras.
She was the President of the Davidson School PTA, an active member of the Davidson Garden Club, a Girl Scout leader for 8 years, and a docent at The Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte. She was honored by the Women of the Church at Davidson United Methodist Church. Later in life, Dr. McConnell was a volunteer on committees at The Pines and at Bethel Presbyterian Church.
Dr. McConnell is survived by her husband Dr. Claude McConnell of The Pines; her daughter Mary Claudia (Coco) McConnell Killian and her husband, Ray A. Killian,Jr. of Charlotte, NC; Gayle Jane McConnell Tallardy and her husband Carl Tallardy III of Newburgh, NY and Key Largo, FL; her son, Hardison Gates McConnell, Sr, and his wife, Robbie Massey McConnell of Huntersville, NC; grandchildren, Ray A. ( Rally) Killian III of St. Louis, MO; Mary Gates Killian of Charlotte, NC; Hardison Gates (Skip) McConnell, Jr. and Cameron O’Neal McConnell of Huntersville, NC. She is survived by her stepmother, Vivian Rogue Gates of Clearwater, FL.
A service to celebrate the life of Mary Jane McConnell will be held at 10:30 am Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012, at Bethel Presbyterian Church in Cornelius, with the Reverend Dr. Bill Cain officiating. Visitation to follow the service. Burial is private. The family will receive friends at The Pines on Monday, Jan. 9, 2012 from 7:00 – 8:30 pm.
The family extends their most heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the staff, doctors and nurses of The Pines who so skillfully and lovingly cared for Mary Jane these past few months.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to Bethel Presbyterian Church, 19920 Bethel Church Road, Cornelius, NC 28031; or The Pines at Davidson, 400 Avinger Lane, Davidson, NC 28036.
Samuel S. James, Funeral Service Lic. of Huntersville is serving the family. www.samuelsjamesfsl.com