Official Obituary of

William Frederick Connell

November 2, 1932 ~ March 10, 2024 (age 91) 91 Years Old

William Connell Obituary

William Frederick Connell, aged 91 years, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loved ones, on March 10, 2024, after a long illness.  An energetic, gentle and artistic man, he moved with his wife Jacqueline to the Berkshires in 1999, first building a house in Sheffield, and later dividing his time between Great Barrington and Sarasota, FL.  He was a member of the Housatonic Valley Art League and a founder of the Housatonic River Summer Art Festival.  Born and raised in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Connell received a B.A. in Engineering from Northwestern University and an M.B.A. from Michigan University.  He worked for Union Carbide and Pfizer before holding a series of senior executive positions at the Hartford National Bank, Gold Fields, Inc., the Hospital Trust of Providence, RI, and the First Bank of Boston.  Ever exploring ways to devote spare time to useful projects, over the years he could be found variously teaching classes in Entrepreneurship at the University of Rhode Island, speaking on his own public radio show from Hartford, taking painting classes at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, serving as a Trustee of the Rhode Island Historical Society and the Providence Athenaeum, and walking his dog Shelley in Stonington, CT, where for several years he was Street and Sidewalks Commissioner.  A fascination with traditional New England architecture prompted him to restore or rebuild homes in Stonington, Mystic, and Middle Haddam, CT, and then, most impressively, the Harkness Mansion on College Hill in Providence, before building his Sheffield home.  In each of these projects he did much of the carpentry and finishing work himself, employing skills handed down by his father.  A serious painter and printmaker, his series of 37 silk-screened “Fair Posters” for the annual Stonington Fair, beginning in 1977, quickly became collectors’ treasures, so that when he published “Stonington Fair Posters 1978-2007”, a book containing the first 30 years of the series, it was written up in the New York Times in 2007.  In 2013 he published a poetry chapbook, “Stonington 1960”, consisting of poems in which he imagined the seashore village and its inhabitants as they existed before I-95 was extended through southeastern Connecticut.  A creative impulse is present in all people, he would often say, and stimulating and developing it through particular pursuits, whatever they may be, leads to the happiness that is essential to human goodness.    
He is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Jacqueline Lee Connell; children William John Connell (Nikki) of Clinton, NJ; Ann Connell Smith (Ken) of Becket, MA; and Shawn Moore Smith (Craig) of Salem, MA; grandchildren Emmalyn Gaertner, Bram Bergeron-Smith, Zoë Connell, and Livia Connell; three great grandchildren; first wife Marilyn Moore of Lenox, MA; and his sisters Kate Allured of New Preston, CT, and Barbara Manley of Rye, NY.  
A celebration of his life will be held by family and close friends. Donations in his honor may be made to your favorite local arts organization; or plant a tree in his memory.

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