Dedicated staff member, mother to retire after 35 years

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by Collin Burwinkel
Eagle Editorial Board

Having been associated with St. Thomas since 1978, Bookkeeper and business office trail-blazer Dorothy McConnell plans to retire Nov. 7. After 35 years of dedication to STH, McConnell has left quite an impressive dent on the school community.

Her selflessness, dedication, and enthusiasm she brought to work each day has impacted the lives of thousands.

The wife of legendary former head football coach and former Dean of Students Mike McConnell, Mrs. McConnell has been an important member of the Eagle family for a lengthy amount of time.

“My first Round-Up that I went to was either in 1978 or 1979,” Dorothy McConnell said. “All of the coaches wives worked the soda booths, and I remember coming home all sticky from the soda.”

Working the soda booths would become the first of many activities that McConnell would be involved with.

“The last year Mike coached was our son’s senior year,” McConnell said. “It was so much a part of what we did as a family.”

Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Mrs. McConnell would continue to help out the Eagle community. It was not until 1997 when she actually sought employment at the school.

“At the time I was only working part-time and I was looking for a job,” McConnell said. “I had worked for big companies in the past, but I had two kids in college and was looking for a change.”

Just as being accepted to the St. Thomas community was easy, landing the job proved to be even easier.

“At the time, I came and talked to the controller, who was Allen Frazier. He hired me on the spot,” McConnell said.

Throughout her time in the business office, McConnell would lend a helping hand to a variety of people.

“The first couple of years I helped [Director of Student Activities Joe] O’Brien with the Phone-a-Thon,” McConnell said. “It wasn’t until 2000, when Fr. Schwenzer, asked me to be a Co-chair of the raffle alongside [Athletic Director John] Carrigan.”

In her inaugural year as Co-chair, a record breaking $200,000 was raised.

Round-Up is McConnell’s soft spot because it helped with her children being able to attend school here as well.

“Round-Up has always been apart of me. Its something I will always love,” McConnell said. “It means a lot to me to know that many students have been able to attend school here because of the money raised at Round-Up.”

In addition to Round-Up, being able to work alongside her husband for 15 years is something that she will never forget. Working together is something most couples do not get to experience, and the McConnell’s cherished that special opportunity.

“It has been something that we can always share. That was always so much apart of us and that was something we will always have,” McConnell said. “We would go into work almost everyday together and I wouldn’t see him until detention was over, when it was time to leave.”

Although McConnell departs her beloved job, she is looking forward to the perks of retirement.

“It took Mike about 5 minutes to adjust to retirement. I’m looking forward to being more at home,” McConnell said. “We have two little grandsons and I’m dying to spend more time with them. I’ll miss St. Thomas, but I will not miss having to get up at 6:00 every morning though.”

After 17 years in the business office and 35 years as a St. Thomas mom, Dorothy McConnell has continued the legacy of being a true representative of goodness, discipline and knowledge. As she goes into her retirement, the St. Thomas community gives our thanks to yet another departing legend. Mrs. McConnell will always have a home in the Eagle community.

 

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