Honoring the Passing of Paul McConnell

beaverdamusa.com, mark grissom, chicago cubsWell, it is time for some playoff baseball! Unfortunately, like usual, my Cubbies are not going to be playing in October. So be it! I don’t feel too bad; my friends who are Braves fans have absolutely nothing to brag about this year either!

I read a story on Facebook that Theo Epstein, General Manager of the Cubs, said he is expecting the Cubs to be the National League East Champions next year.

Ya, right Theo! And I expect to win the lottery and retire in Bermuda.

Oh well, I have stuck with them [the Cubs] for 50 years now; I guess I will hang around for at least another 50.

I am pulling for the Orioles to win it all this year! Don’t ask me why. I have no idea. I just like them.

The Tennessee Vols play the Florida Gators this Saturday. I don’t wish anything bad on the Gators. But I hope they all get some sort of stomach virus and have the running squirts during the game.

Is that too harsh? If so, I am not apologizing! GO BIG ORANGE!!

Things have been pretty busy this past week at the funeral home.

In case some of you may not know, I have been in the funeral business for the past 30 years. I am a licensed funeral director and embalmer in the State of Tennessee.

I find myself having a more difficult time, the older I get, conducting funeral services.

Most of the funeral services we have now, I know the individual that passed away on a personal level. It makes it really hard to be strong and not show your emotions when you were friends with the person lying in the casket.

Such was the case the past Monday.

My friend, Paul McConnell passed away last Saturday.

Paul was the co-owner of McConnell-Gates Exxon for many, many years. He retired in 1991.

The service station was located right next to Grissom Funeral Home.

When I purchased the funeral home in 1988 from Gene Allen, after I paid the Bank of Cleveland the down payment and paid for the remodeling, I did not have much money left.

I went next door to McConnell-Gates Exxon service station and asked Miles Gates if I could set up a charge account. He told me that he would have to check with his partner, Paul, and he would let me know.

A few days later, I went back to fill up one of the funeral home vehicles and Miles told me that Paul said it would be okay.

Every time I went to fill up the cars, or get the oil changed, Paul McConnell always greeted me with a great big smile and asked how everything was going.

He was a hard worker. Never did I see Paul sitting down. He was constantly working the “full service” pumps or servicing a car or filling up tires or cleaning a windshield.

He was a very hard worker.

Not only was Paul a hard worker, but he was also a great man.

I never heard Paul use a cuss word. I never heard Paul tell a dirty joke. I never saw, or heard, Paul do anything that would not have been pleasing to the Lord.

He was just that kind of person.

He was a great businessman and a great Christian gentleman.

He was also an incredible husband, father and grandfather. He loved his family very much. I can remember Paul telling many stories of his grandkids or talking about his loving wife.

Paul retired in 1991, and I did not get to see him too much after that.

Once in a while I would go over to fill up my hearse or limo and Paul would be there visiting Miles. He always took time to talk to me and ask me the question…”How is everything going?”

I have worked hard for the past 30 years. The funeral home business is seven days a week/ 24 hours a day. It is a very rewarding career, but you do not get much time off. I have put in a lot of hours and missed a lot of weekends and holidays.

I consider myself to be a hard worker… but nothing like Paul McConnell.

I have been a Christian since I was 10 years old. I got saved at a Church of God Youth Camp in Southern Illinois. I have tried my best to serve the Lord and live right. I have failed God on a daily basis. But by HIS grace, I hope to make it to Heaven one day.

I have tried to be a good Christian… but nothing like Paul McConnell.

Monday, September 29, 2014, at 4:00 p.m., we had a funeral service at North Cleveland Baptist Church for one of the finest, hardworking, true Christian and loving family man that I will ever meet in this life.

Paul McConnell was a simple man. He planned his funeral out a long time ago. He told his family exactly the way he wanted it to be, and they honored his wishes.

It was a simple, but very nice, casket. The casket had no fancy flowers on top, but an American Flag to represent Paul’s service to his country. There was no fancy video playing on the big screen at the church. There was no dove release at the cemetery.

Just a simple, but very dignified funeral, for a simple and dignified gentleman.

Rest In Peace, Paul McConnell. You made an impact on my life and I will never, ever forget you.

Until next time…

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