McConnell, Thomas Grant, 84, Colonel, USAF (ret.) passed away at home with family, September 11, 2014, after a courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease. Colonel McConnell was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. attending Xavier Military High School and Georgetown University, receiving a Master’s degree from George Washington University. Colonel McConnell was a 30 year Air Force Pilot serving in Korea and Vietnam. He flew F-86; F-106; and A1E fighters with the 539th and 95th Interceptor Squadrons. He was awarded: Distinguished Flying Cross (two Oak Leaf Clusters); Bronze Star; Merit Service Medal (one Oak Leaf Cluster); Air Medal (ten Oak Leaf Clusters); AF Commendation Medal; Small Arms Expert Ribbon; ADF Exp Medal (Vietnam); Combat Readiness medal; AF Longevity Service Ribbon (six Oak Leaf Clusters); National Defense Service medal. Colonel McConnell was Commander of the Eastern NORAD Air Defense System in the 70’s and taught at the Air War College. He was a Congressional Liaison with Rockwell International, Inc. after his service retirement. He was very active with the Roman Catholic Church. A Civil War expert providing battlefield tours, Colonel McConnell belonged to Vietnam Red River Rats and the F-86 Fighter Pilots Assn.
Colonel McConnell was married to Patricia McConnell for 52 years until 2002 and Linda Jane McConnell for the past 7 years. He has three sons, Patrick, Woodbridge, VA; Thomas, Jr, West Chester, PA; and Kevin of Australia. He has 9 grandchildren, Kelly, Patrick, Joe, Brighid, John, Stephen, Daniel, Michael, Benjamin, one great-grandchild, Brayden, daughter-in-laws Lynda and Brenda; step-daughter Jill; step-son Jeff; grandchild–in-law Brian. His best friends were George and Jean Wish, John Champlain, Ken Vernon, Kevin Featherstone, Steve and Billie Joyce. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Parkinson Association of Greater Daytona Beach at http://www.parkinsondaytona.org/take-action. A life celebration will be held 1PM, Friday, September 19, 2014 at the Baldwin Brothers Heritage Place, 1 N. Causeway, New Smyrna Beach.