Sheila A. McConnell, of Herndon, Virginia, passed away on Saturday, May 14, 2022, in the company of family members at INOVA Loudoun County Hospital, near Leesburg, VA. She was born on December 8, 1948, in Des Moines, Iowa, to Chester (Chet) and Phyllis West. She was a 1967 graduate from the Southeast Polk County Iowa High School. She married Bruce McConnell on September 7, 1967, in Runnells, Iowa, then immediately started her married life in Connecticut, where Bruce was stationed (when not at sea) in the US Navy. She worked as a homemaker and school volunteer, while being a full time mother to two wonderful boys. Her caring personality and love of people made her a valued grandma, mother, wife, and friend. Her love of children made her an ideal teacher for the early development of children at the First Baptist Church Preschool, in Herndon, Virginia.
Sheila is survived by her husband; Bruce, Son; Michael (married to Leslie), Son; Jason (married to Rebecca), grandchildren; Lauren (Sheets), Aiden, Logan, and Cora (McConnell). Sheila is preceded in death by her parents; Phyllis West Uhlman and Chester West, and her sisters; LuEllen “Kaye” Trim, Pamala “Pam” Nordstrom, and Cynthia “Cindy” Dooley.
Sheila was raised in a family that enjoyed and appreciated music, with her mom or sister, Pam (at the piano and/or organ), and singing with sisters, Kaye and Cindy. This love of singing carried through adulthood in church choir, as well as singing with sons, Michael and Jason, on road trips.
Playing boardgames and word games were fun distractions, when spending time with friends and family. Her friends, Bonnie (from Missouri) and Sheila (from Virginia), were great game companions. The grandchildren have all spent memorable times with grandma / G-Ma playing games from an early age.
Sheila grew up in church life, and her faith sustained her throughout her life. Her time in First Baptist Church of Herndon was special because she could teach in the pre-school, participate in retreats, sing in the choir, and just spend time with dear friends.
Vacation was always an opportunity for Sheila to visit with siblings and their families at “home” in Iowa. There was a station wagon camping trip from Chicago to Seattle to see sister Kaye. Tent camping in Minnesota with Bruce’s sister, Carol, was a special time, as was sharing a small cabin in Wisconsin with Sheila’s sister, Pam. Sister, Cindy, always opened her home to Sheila and family during visits (and further opportunities for games)!
Sheila was a great friend because she was loving, non-judgmental, and knowledgeable (especially about trivia), and worked extremely hard at personal communication. Her special friends from Bellevue, NE, were many, but Marsha, Jeannie, and Sheila (and each of their families of four) were always ready for a house full of adults and kids, creating lots of memories.
Sheila loved to take in culture, and was a life-long learner. She loved playing “tour guide” when people came to visit, whether it be a museum, historic site, natural wonder, or performance. She always seemed most happy when she saw others enjoying these outings as much as she did.
Sheila was highly creative and always ready to help her sons with school projects (even when they waited until the last minute to ask for help)! She, also, loved finding new activities to do with her grandchildren. When she started stamping, many years ago, this brought her pure joy, and it inspired her to create and send cards to her family and friends. She would spend hours in her “stamping room”, trying new techniques and ideas, always putting great thought into each card she made, making it just right for the person whom she was creating it for.
The love story of Sheila and Bruce begins when Bruce was in Iowa on a short leave from the Navy. They would arrange for an evening, and sister, Kaye, would show up, not realizing that these two friends were thinking about dating. Finally, on the last day before Bruce’s departure, he called Sheila with an evening suggestion, “but don’t tell Kaye”. That started an almost 55-year partnership in life filled with love and fulfillment, which is surely a gift from God. Sheila was a fun-loving but serious lover of people, and a builder of relationships. The loving partnership remained strong through Bruce’s job changes and related moves from New London, CT, to Chicago, IL, to St Paul, MN, to Bellevue, NE, to Platte City, MO, and finally to Herndon, VA, for the last 35 years. She was what only the few are fortunate enough to have.
Visitation is at Adams-Green Funeral Home in Herndon, with services at First Baptist Church of Herndon. Sheila will be transported to the Peterson Funeral Home in Carlisle, Iowa, for visitation and internment at Lowman Cemetery near Runnells, Iowa.
Donation may be made in lieu of flowers to the charity of your choice, First Baptist Church of Herndon, or St Jude’s.