PORTSMOUTH - Michael Patrick McConnell passed away Oct. 27, 2012, after a long, hard-fought battle with cancer.
The love of his wife, children and grandchildren embraced him as he passed peacefully and without pain.
Michael was born in Troy, Ohio, on Dec. 4, 1948. He graduated from Troy High School in 1967, and received both a bachelor's and master's degree in fine arts from Ohio University. Well known as both a talented sculptor and dedicated educator, he was a respected member of the University of New Hampshire's Department of Art and Art History faculty since 1975, and served as chair of that department for three terms. His enthusiasm for teaching sculpture, bronze casting and welding was unwavering in his 36 years at the university. In addition, he was a nationally exhibited artist, successful businessman and real estate entrepreneur.
Michael was a resident of Durham, N.H., for more than 25 years and recently relocated to Portsmouth with his wife, Maryse. Michael and Maryse were active members of the Elks lodge in Dover, N.H., and spent a great deal of time with their children and grandchildren.
Michael was very strong willed, determined to enjoy his abbreviated time, and to that end the last two years of his life brought him much joy: His daughters were both married, his son and his family returned to live in New Hampshire, and he welcomed a new grandchild. Returning with Maryse to Market Square, to live across the street from the first apartment they shared nearly 35 years ago, was the completion of a very important circle for him.
Michael is survived by his devoted family: His soul mate and wife of 30 years, Maryse Searls McConnell; his three children, daughter Jenniffer McConnell of Bow, N.H., son Marc McConnell of Durham, N.H., and daughter Alexis McConnell of Portsmouth, N.H., as well as their spouses, John Carlage, Kelly McConnell and Robert Bonner; and the three grandchildren he adored, Eliorah Finkelson, Cody McConnell and Wyatt Bonner.
He also is survived by his mother and stepfather, Jane and Doug Campbell of Troy, Ohio; and his three siblings and their spouses, Fred K. McConnell, Jr. and Barbara Spigarelli of Pittsburg, Kan., Shelley and John Denney of Troy, Ohio, and Joe McConnell and Erik Haagensen of New York, N.Y.
His extended family includes many nieces and nephews and very dear friends.
Michael was a powerful force: A devoted husband, adoring father, doting grandfather, thoughtful artist, dedicated teacher and loyal friend.
Michael will be remembered as a caring and compassionate mentor, truly wanting to help those around him reach their personal best.
He will be greatly missed by the many souls he touched.
The family would like to thank the staff at the Genitourinary Malignancies Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center for working so hard to create the extra time Michael had with them.
Additional thanks are extended to the staff on the Medical Floor at Portsmouth Regional Hospital for easing his pain and facilitating his graceful departure.
Calling hours will be from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 2, at Wiggin-Purdy Funeral Home, 655 Central Ave., Dover, N.H.
A Funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 2, at St. George's Episcopal Church, 1 Park Court, Durham, N.H.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Michael's name to the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, 55 Fruit St., Boston, MA 02114. (www.massgeneral.org/cancer).