Donald George McConnell, 91, a lifelong New Orleanian, passed away peacefully at home with his wife Cheryl by his side on Saturday, November 12, 2022.
He was preceded in death by his parents Archie McConnell and Amy McConnell, stepson Kevin Lee and niece Kim McConnell.
Don is survived by his loving wife of 48 years, Cheryl McConnell, daughter Pamela Dixon, son Michael McConnell, brother Roger McConnell, sister-in-law Donna Enneking, grandchildren Michael McConnell, Jr., Amanda Burke (Benton), Chase Dixon, nephews Roger McConnell, Donald McConnell (Luanne), niece Laura Hobby (David Hobby) two great grandchildren and several grandnieces and nephews.
He was born in 1931 on Annunciation Street during the Great Depression. Those trying times inspired in him a lifelong, deep understanding of sacrifice and the value of hard work. He attended St. Michael’s Elementary School and rode city busses and streetcars to St. Aloysius High School, graduating in 1948. During these years, he had an after-school job at the JAX Brewery, running errands and performing various tasks for the princely sum of about $7 per week. A few years after graduation, he enlisted in and served honorably in the United States Marine Corps. Don worked his entire adult life in the restaurant business and for 50 years ─ until Hurricane Katrina forced its closure ─ owned and extended his legendary hospitality to generations of people who frequented his immensely popular Hong Kong Restaurant in West End.
Don and Cheryl were passionate about traveling, visiting all seven continents on many memorable trips and cruises that he beautifully documented through his love for photography. He enjoyed a day on the water, in particular sailing and boating on Lake Pontchartrain. His interest in astronomy led him and Cheryl to travel the globe to experience solar eclipses. Closer to home, Don loved to socialize with and look out for his neighbors on Beryl Street, where he lived with Cheryl for 44 years.
He had a strong faith in God and was a member of Fellowship Bible Church. Don enjoyed studying scripture with Pastor Bil Gephardt.
The family extends special thanks to Sarah McElveen who helped care for Don during his last years and Anita Vatshell of Compassus Hospice for her assistance and support.
Don’s family will receive friends Wednesday, November 30 beginning at 12:30 PM at Jacob Schoen & Son Funeral Home, 3827 Canal Street, New Orleans. A United States Marine Corps honor service will begin at 1:30 P.M. in the J. Garic Schoen Chapel.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Tunnels to Towers, www.t2t.org, or a charity of your choice in Don’s memory.