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Richard Duane McConnell, 87, passed away in his home in Mesa, AZ, surrounded by his loving family and devoted wife, Gayle, who selflessly cared for him during his courageous battle with numerous illnesses.
Richard was born on December 13, 1932, to Leonard and Gudrun (Matthiasson) McConnell. At a very young age, Richard earned the nickname "Buster" which stayed with him throughout his life. Richard grew up on the family farm and graduated from Bowesmont High School. On October 25, 1953, he married the love of his life, Gayle Franks.
In 1954, Richard volunteered for enlistment in the United States Army and served for two years as a tank commander. Richard was very proud of his military service and loved his country.
While continuing to operate the family farm, Richard attended the University of North Dakota and graduated with his bachelor's degree and masters degree in accounting. He earned his Certified Public Accountant certificate and maintained a CPA practice in Drayton, ND. Richard also shared his accounting knowledge with his students over the years as a professor at Bemidji State College, the University of North Dakota, and as on off-campus professor for the University of Northern Colorado.
Not only was Richard a farmer, CPA, and teacher, he was a musician. He found great joy in music (especially Dixieland) and played multiple instruments including the trombone, bugle, piano, and saxophone. He was a member of several bands, played at many memorial services, and was asked to play live "Taps" at several military services.
Richard's additional accomplishments include: Pembina County Farm Bureau Director, ND Farm Bureau Director, Koda Bank Director, Kem Temple Shriner, member of the Masons, President of the Bowesmont Heritage Preservation, and the Bowesmont Cemetary Board.
Richard is survived by his wife of 66 years Gayle; Children: Richard (Sharon) McConnell, Kris (Bennet) Tucker, and Rachel (Michael) Wittrock; Grandchildren: Brandon (Chasity) Drees, Kelly (Casey) McWilliams, Christian McConnell, Emily McConnell, and Ava Wittrock; 4 great-grandchildren: Ella and Porter McWilliams and Norah and Aubrey Drees; 3 brothers: James (Frances) McConnell, Bill (Ruth) McConnell, and Allen (Carol) McConnell; and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews. He was preceeded in death by his parents: Leonard and Gudrun McConnell and nephew Matt McConnell.
A graveside service will be held on Friday, July 31, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. at the Bowesmont Cemetery, Bowesmont, ND. Please bring your lawn chairs. In lieu of flowers memorials are preferred to the Shriners Hospital. Lunch will be served at the McConnell Family Farm following the service.
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