James McConnell Sr., 88

Corporation controller

September 13, 2007

James Roger McConnell Sr., a retired corporation controller and a veteran of World War II and Korea, died of heart failure Sept. 4 at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The Bel Air resident was 88.

Born and raised in Mansfield, Ohio, Mr. McConnell earned a bachelor's degree in business from Washington & Lee University in 1941.

After graduating from college, he enlisted in the Army Air Forces. After earning his wings, he spent the war as a flight instructor at bases in San Antonio and Fort Worth, Texas, teaching pilots to fly B-17, B-24 and B-29 bombers.

After the war, Mr. McConnell remained active in the Air Force Reserves, and during the Korean War was recalled to active duty and served as a squadron commander in Europe. He continued to stay an active reservist until retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1971.

In his business career, he went to work for Globe Steel Abrasive Co. in Mansfield, Ohio, in 1945, eventually becoming an executive with the company.

From 1957 to 1962, he was president of Pangborn Corp. in Hagerstown, and after its purchase by Carborundum Co., moved to its company headquarters in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

During the 1970s and 1980s, he subsequently served as president of Reed Tool Corp. in Sherman, Texas, and West Virginia Armature Corp. in Bluefield, W.Va.

A resident of Bel Air since 1986, Mr. McConnell was controller of York International Corp. in York, Pa., from 1985 until retiring in 1992.

Mr. McConnell had a private pilot's license and enjoyed teaching others to fly. He also was an avid golfer. He also was an accomplished pianist and liked playing big-band music.

An Eagle Scout, he was awarded the Distinguished Eagle School Award.

He was a member of Bel Air United Methodist Church.

His wife of 52 years, the former Patricia Palmer, died in 1995.

Services were held Saturday in Mansfield, Ohio.

Surviving are two sons, James R. McConnell Jr. of Hagerstown and Michael P. McConnell of Phoenix, Baltimore County; a daughter, Karen Lee Downing of Akron, Ohio; a sister, Elsie McC. Ripper of Sarasota, Fla.; five grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

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