William Benard McConnell Jr.

5 years ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – William Benard McConnell, Jr, was born on April 12, 1916 in Portage Lake, ME. eldest son of William, Sr, and Bernice Randall McConnell.
William Jr had 5 younger siblings: John, Mary, Robert, James, and Peter all of whom predeceased him. He attended Portage grade school, finishing his last 2 years of high school at Caribou. He got a job as kitchen help at a Massachusetts prep school for 5 years, changing to factory work when classified 4F in the WWII draft. The war ended, he came back to the County, trying guiding and pulpwood scaling before working 30 years for the Coca Cola Co.
In later years he enjoyed vegetable gardening and making compost. He belonged to Budget Buyers and Joy of Sharing food Co-ops, the Star City Seniors Club, in which, over time, he held all offices except treasurer. He was a long-time attendant at senior meals sponsored by the Aroostook Area Agency on Aging at the High School and the Gathering Place. He earned a total of 24 credits taking non-traditional courses at University of Maine, Presque Isle.
He belonged for a long time to the Presque Isle Fish and Game Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council of Maine, and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners. He enjoyed the friends he made through outdoor activities; early trail-less snow sledding, and especially when acting as camp cook at annual deer hunting trips. He won more than his share of ice-out and first-deer pools.
William was an avid reader from boyhood. In later life he put his language skills to use by publishing an anthology of his wilderness adventures, Notes From the Packbasket, A Woodstove Autobiography in 1996. In his ninety-ninth year he began writing again in support of the Leisure Village Writers and was published in their 2016 and 2018 anthologies.
His work was previously published in multiple Echoes Magazine and Portage Lake History printed in 2009. In the spring of 2017, he, along with others of his ilk, met with young Mapleton Elementary School students to encourage their development of writing skills. Bill loved to sing and had a large repertoire of songs and ditties that he entertained folks with, including one of his favorites “Waltzing with Bears.” which he sang for the students.
He is survived by 2 nieces, Nanci Ellen Little of Presque Isle, ME and Janice Little Scribner of Lutz, FL. In lieu of flowers please make a small donation to the Central Aroostook Humane Society, 24 Cross St, Presque Isle, ME 04769. Bill loved his little rescue girl Heidi who passed a few years ago.