On June 10th, 2019, the McConnell Family tragically lost their beloved husband, father, and grandfather due to a tragic airplane accident. The world lost a visionary business leader, community supporter, and philanthropist. John Noble McConnell, Jr. was born on April 11th, 1939, in Evanston, IL to Betty and John N. McConnell, Sr. The oldest of four children, John spent his childhood in Evanston, IL. His summers at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, where he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, provided the ideal playground for his insatiable curiosity and engendered his love of the landscape, culture, and native people of the American Southwest. Throughout his entire life, John possessed boundless energy and loved getting to know people.
John was a highly-principled man; he absorbed values from a wide range of reading and experiences throughout his life. He graduated from Princeton University in 1961, and joined the Navy, where he attended officer candidate school and later the Naval Justice School. He served as a Lieutenant Communications Officer on the U.S. Eversole DD789.
As a young businessman in Chicago, John met the love of his life, Marilyn Poehler, a Senior at Northwestern University. John and Marilyn married on June 22, 1963, a union that lasted 56 years and provided a loving and stable home for their children, John “Jay” McConnell and Laura McConnell Perin.
In 1972, John and Marilyn moved their young family to Kansas City, where he took the position of National Sales Manager at Labconco Corporation, led by Chairman and dear friend, Redman “Red” Callaway. John and Marilyn bought the house of their dreams, where they still live today.
John’s visionary leadership, natural ability to build relationships, and authentic interest in every single Labconco associate and customer helped establish the company as a leader in the laboratory products industry. He became President in 1980, a position he held until transitioning to Chairman Emeritus in 2000. John cherished all of the roles and responsibilities he had at Labconco, and cared deeply for its people.
John McConnell was a seeker. He loved people and wanted them to succeed. He enjoyed meeting everyone in the room and knowing what made them tick. He was intrigued by people, and appreciated the knowledge and insight others added to conversations and communities. An avid pilot, fisherman and reader, John also loved travel and adventure. Through it all, Marilyn was his constant companion and biggest supporter. John considered Marilyn his best friend. They had an incredible 56 years together.
For all the ways that John will be celebrated, his true and most treasured legacy will be his family. He was their leader, organizer, and Eagle Scout guide through every turn in life. John’s genuine zeal for people, his vivacious nature, and his generosity of time, talent, and resources will be his legacy passed down to his children and grandchildren. His friends know he was quite humble relative to his many accomplishments and achievements. In truth, he was larger than life.
He is survived by his loving wife Marilyn; their two children, John “Jay” McConnell (Anne), Laura Perin (Reuben); and their six grandchildren; Leah, John IV, Matt and Michael McConnell, and Spencer “Red” and Ben Perin. He is also survived by his siblings, Charles McConnell, Janey McConnell Harris and Chris McConnell.
Services will take place at 3 pm on Thursday, June 20 at Village Presbyterian Church, 6641 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS 66208
Marilyn and John were happily and actively involved in many volunteer and philanthropic organizations across the country, especially in their home communities of Kansas City, Missouri; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Vero Beach, Florida.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the following:
4111 E. 37th Street N., Suite D101
Wichita, KS 67220
Kauffmann Center for the Performing Arts
1601 Broadway Boulevard
Kansas City, MO 64108
The Mayo Clinic Department of Development
200 First Street
Rochester, MN 55905