Expired at 6 O’Clock Last Night at South Main Street Home.
Resident Here 38 Years
Was One of City’s Leading Merchants Until Retirement a Year Ago; Aged 73 Years.
Willard C. McConnell, aged 73 years, one of Adrian’s best known citizens and until a year ago one of the city’s leading merchants, died at 6 o’clock last evening at his home, 322 South Main street, after a sickness of about two weeks. He had been in poor health for more than a year but had been able to be about until his last sickness which was due to a complication of ailments. Although his condition has been unfavorable for ten days previously it took a decidedly serious turn Sunday after which he failed to rally. Mrs. McConnell and his daughter, Mrs. W.D. McLean, of New York City were at the bedside when death came.
Was Native of Oakland.
Mr. McConnell was born in Pontiac in August, 1847, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Willard McConnell. He was educated in the public schools of Pontiac and had planned upon a course in college when he enlisted in the army near the close of the Civil War. He was at that time aged 17 years.
Mr. McConnell enrolled in the 3rd Michigan Infantry September 13, 1864, and became a sergeant in the Quartermaster Corps. At the close of the war he was left at the camp in Victoria, Texas, after the other members of the regiment had been sent home to be mustered out. The work of ceaning [sic] up the camp was completed in May,1866, when Mr. McConnell came home, receiving his discharge on the 25th of that month. One month after his discharge he was appointed a lieutenant in the 3rd Michigan Regiment by Gov. Henry Crapo, but never served in this capacity.
At the close of the war he went to Detroit and took a business course after which he returned to Pontiac, where his father conducted a large mercantile business, and worked in his father’s store. Shortly afterward the father decided to retire from active business life and turned the store over to Mr. McConnell and his brother, Hervey Parke McConnell, who died about 22 years ago.
In 1883 Mr. McConnell sold his interest in the Pontiac store to his brother and came to Adrian where he opened a dry goods store in the old Masonic Temple building at West Maumee and Winter streets. He remained in this location until 15 years later when the building burned and the business was removed across the street to the Metcalf block, where it occupied the first floor and part of the second one. After remaining in this location for 17 years Mr. McConnell moved his store to 117-119 West Maumee street. The business was continued at this place until December, 1919, when he sold it to the W.O. Aubig Company and retired from active business life.
Mr. McConnell was married to Miss Rohama Rorick, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Rorick of Wauseon, after coming to Adrian. Two daughters were born them, Ada now Mrs. W.D. McLean of New York city, and Cleantha who died in April, 1919. Besides the wife and one daughter he is also survived by two sisters, Mrs. W.H. Butts of Ann Arbor and Mrs. Henry C. Wisner of Pontiac, and by two grandchildren.
Although he never took any part in local politics, he was always very much interested in national affairs, being a staunch disciple of the Republican party. He was a member of the Elks lodge. For the past ten years he had been vice-president of the board of directors of the Adrian Wire Fence Company and at one time was a director in the Monarch Fence Company of Adrian.
Possessed Striking Personality.
A striking individuality which, in cont[unclear] with his business associates, never failed to leave its impression gained for Mr. McConnell a wide acquaintance during his lifetime. Especially in Detroit, where he had various business interests, he was well known. He was a diligent reader and maintained a close contact with public affairs. His powers as a conversationalist combined with the ability for keen observation and analysis commanded attention whenever he was with others, and his associates left always in their wake an indelible memory of cheery goodfellowship.
The funeral services will be held at 2:30 o’clock Saturday afternoon at the home on South Main street, the Rev. Richard J. Lee officiating.
Source: Adrian Daily Telegram, February 10, 1921.