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Richard R. Connell 1931-2020
Richard R. Connell 1931-2020

CLAFLIN — Richard R. “Dick” Connell, 89, died June 22, 2020, at Medicalodges, Great Bend, Kansas.  He was born February 1, 1931, in Lincoln, Nebraska, the son of Charles and Josephine (Wilson) Connell.  Dick graduated from Keya Paha County High School in Springview, Nebraska. He then went to college at the John Brown University in Shilom Springs, Arkansas, and then Wayne State College in Nebraska. It was here that he met Bonnie.

On July 5, 1952, he married Bonnie Lee Mousel in Marysville, Kansas.  She preceded him in death on July 21, 2018.

 Richard served in the Army from 1952- 1954; 16 months of his service was spent in Korea, where he was a radio operator and taught soldiers how to read and write.  Richard continued his love for education graduating from the University of Northern Colorado with a Bachelor’s degree in education. Richard and Bonnie moved to Otis in 1956 where he started teaching Science, Health, and PE. He was also the head football and baseball coach, assistant basketball coach, Driver’s Ed teacher and in charge of the school play.  He went back to Colorado during the summers to finish his Master’s degree in Administration.  He became principal at Otis from 1965 to 1969.  Mr. Connell received a phone call from Claflin and was offered the Superintendent position in 1969. He, Bonnie, and the three boys moved to Claflin as he worked as the Superintendent of Claflin for 24 years.  During their years at Claflin, they added a daughter to their family.  Mr. Connell held a variety of other titles in the Claflin district while acting as the Superintendent, he was also the principal of the Claflin Elementary and Jr. High School for a few years.  Richard retired in 1993-1994 from Claflin with a total of 41 years in the education field.

Richard was very active in both his community and church.  He was a member of the United Methodist Church, the Lions Club, was a board member for Clara Barton Hospital, former leader in the Cub and Boy Scouts, a volunteer driver for the 55+ and a member of the Kansas Schools Superintendent Association.

Survivors include; son, Mark Connell and wife, Kim of Claflin; daughter, Carol McAtee and husband Travis of Great Bend; daughter-in-law, Belinda Connell of Claflin; sister, Gwen VanBrocklin of Roseville, CA; Craig Connell of Lincoln, NE; 10 grandchildren, Jessica (Mark)Keeton, Kipp (Brooke) Connell, Addie(Jeff) Cullen, Kandice (Nate) Thurman, Krystal (Dustin)Hickel, Becca (Dave) Duncan, Kyler (Kristan)Connell, Reed (Callie) McAtee, Keyton (Joe) McCombs, and Gage McAtee; 20 great-grandchildren, Graecyn, Ellie & Tenley Keeton, Chance & West Connell, Adrian & Molly Cullen, Kimber & Kaptin Thurman, Hagen, Huxten & Holden Hickel, Devin, Elaina & Jack Duncan, Hannah & Sloane Connell and Haven and Trace McAtee, and Maze McCombs. He was preceded in death by his wife Bonnie, two sons, Steve and Mike Connell, and a sister, Phyllis Carr.

Visitation will be 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, with family to receive friends from 5-8p.m., at the funeral home. 

Funeral service will be 2 p.m., Friday, June 26, 2020, at the United Methodist Church in Claflin, with Pastor Diana Webster presiding. Burial with military honors will follow in Claflin Cemetery. 

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Claflin Ambulance or United Methodist Church of Claflin, in care of the Nicholson-Ricke Funeral Home, PO Box 146, Hoisington, KS 67544.

Funeral arrangements provided by

Nicholson-Ricke Funeral Home 

P.O. Box 146 

Hoisington, KS 67544

Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, June 24, 2020

new ces flag second pic
The new flag is a reproduction of the American banner from 1865, and therefore includes Kansas star from 1861, as well as two more for states that were added during the war. - photo by Chuck Smith