Cover photo for James O. "Jim" McConnell's Obituary
James O. "Jim" McConnell Profile Photo

James O. "Jim" McConnell

March 19, 1945 — June 21, 2024

Benton

James O. "Jim" McConnell

James O. “Jim” McConnell, age 79 of Benton, Arkansas, passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by his loving family on Friday, June 21, 2024. Jim was born on March 19, 1945, to Carl O. & Tomera “Ruth” McConnell in Little Rock, Arkansas. Jim was a loyal and committed husband, daddy, Papa, and friend. He loved his family more than anything and made sure that everyone was always taken care of and always put others first.

Jim attended Garland Elementary School, Westside Junior High School and was a proud 1963 Graduate of LR Central High School and attended Arkansas Tech. Jim worked at A.O. Smith Inland (now Smith Fiberglass), Teletype and retired in 2009 from Dassault Falcon Jet. Jim was a very talented artist all his life and enjoyed using his talents to help and encourage others. He enjoyed drawing and designing and was a self-taught artist and airbrush artist. Over the years he designed many backdrops for plays and other events. He designed and airbrushed thousands of t-shirts over the years. He was an Engineer at Dassault Falcon Jet, designing the interiors of airplanes, which he loved. He loved the detail work and seeing the designs come together. When he retired in 2009, he was the Liaison between the Engineering Department and the shop. 

Jim met the love of his life, Linda Stringer McConnell, while cruising University Avenue one summer night in 1965. They married on June 4, 1966, and just celebrated their 58th Anniversary. They had three children, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren, with another expected in August. 

Jim was an active member of Eagle Point Church of God in Little Rock and a member of the Gideon South Camp in Little Rock. He was a longtime member of Hall’s Deer Club in Stephens, AR and enjoyed meeting the men for breakfast at Frontier Diner to discuss their hunting adventures. Friends were also a very important part of his life, staying in touch with lifelong friends as far back as Garland Elementary and before.

Jim was best known for his talented video skills. He and Linda did photography and videos for close to 30 years and enjoyed nothing more than doing family videos, but he also enjoyed videoing church events, weddings and class reunions and other events. The highlight of his year was being the Videographer for over 20 years for the HHC 336 Ordnance Battalion that served in Vietnam in 1968-69. Jim wasn’t able to serve in the military, so he felt so honored when he was asked to video HHC 336’s reunion one year. After that first year he became the official Videographer and Linda was the Photographer. It was such an honor to become honorary members of the group. They became like family.

Jim felt his greatest accomplishment after retirement was writing and publishing two books, Cahinnio Bush and Return to Indian Creek. He wrote his first book at the age of seventy-one and the second at the age of 75. He was a very talented writer and wrote many poems and letters and notes to Linda over the years. He also wrote and published a song to go along with the book, Cahinnio Bush.

He loved the outdoors and going to the Cabin, hunting, fishing, motorcycles, 4-wheelers, camping, water skiing and going on cruises. Jim was ready to do or try almost anything. He enjoyed remodeling and building their home and others, as well as helping to build a tiny house. Most of all he loved spending time with his family. He loved hunting with the kids and grandkids, he loved to go on cruises. Whether it was a family cruise with 30 people or a smaller group of 4 or 6, he loved it. He designed t-shirts for the two large family cruises, and he loved it when the other people on the crews wanted to know where we got the shirts because they wanted to order some. He numbered them by age with number 1 being the oldest and number 30 being the youngest and he thought it was so much fun when he found out the Carnival Kids Camp were using our family shirts to do a scavenger hunt one day.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Carl and Ruth McConnell, and sister, Carmelita Lopez.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Linda Stringer McConnell; children: Tonya Shields (Brian), Teri Cantrell and Todd McConnell (Tifney); grandchildren: Cayley Burnett (Wes) and Cara Herndon (Brandon); bonus grandchildren:  Sam Mills, Ben Mills, Madison Cantrell, Hannah Cantrell, and Jackson Cantrell; great grandsons: Hudson Peel and Lane Burnett; a great granddaughter arriving in August: Lacey Kate Herndon; sister: Sue Jones; and brother: Jerry McConnell; as well as several nieces, nephews, and many other close family and friends.

A visitation will be held at Smith Family Funeral Home, 322 N. Market St., Benton, at 1:00-2:00 PM, Wednesday, June 26, 2024, with a Celebration of Life following at 2:00-3:00 PM.

In lieu of Flowers, donations can be made to Eagle Point Church of God, Building Fund, P.O. Box 190115, Little Rock, AR 72219

The family would like to thank Dr. Terence Angtuaco, his nurses, Kaleigh & Laurie and the other staff, Carti Imaging, SVI Health at Home and Hospice Home Care for taking such good care of Jim and our family.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James O. "Jim" McConnell, please visit our flower store.
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Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

Smith Family Funeral Home Benton

322 N Market Street, Benton, AR 72015

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Celebration of Life

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Central time)

Smith Family Funeral Home Benton

322 N Market Street, Benton, AR 72015

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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