Naples FL – Robert Alexander McConnell passed away peacefully on September 19, 2018 with his family at his side. His example of love, honor, faith, loyalty, and scholarship provided a lasting legacy for his entire family.
Robert was born March 5, 1929 at his parent’s home in Belfast, Northern Ireland to the late James and Florence McConnell.
He is survived by his wife June (Smith), his sons Stuart (Cathy) and Bruce (Emily Wolfe), grandchildren R. Alexander (Emily), Maggie (Mark) Van de Loo, Chris, Jack, Amanda, and Katie, and great-granddaughter Annie. He is also survived by his brother David (Allison) McConnell of Farnnham Surry, England, and many nieces and nephews in Great Britain and around the world.
Robert and June celebrated their 60th Anniversary this past June 7th, and she was the love of his life. They met at a Scottish Dance in Detroit in January 1957, and remained devoted to each other ever since.
Robert was preceded in death by his parents James & Florence McConnell, and brothers Alexander, James (Lilly) McConnell & George (Vina) McConnell.
Robert earned an engineering degree in Belfast, and after immigrating to Detroit Michigan in 1954, spent 2 years in the United States Army as an instructor teaching Textile Technology. After his time in the Army, he returned to Detroit to further his education at Wayne State University. There he earned another Bachelor’s degree and his MBA. Robert worked in the automotive industry for 39 years as an engineer with Ford Motor Company, and later as President of his own company as an independent manufactures rep for automotive textiles
Robert was involved in his community starting as the president of his Homeowners Association and then establishing a council of local township homeowner associations. He was appointed to the Farmington Township Planning Board, and later as Chairman of the Township Development committee. Elected as Township Supervisor, Robert became actively involved in the transformation of the Township of Farmington and the Villages of Quakertown and Wood Creek into the City of Farmington Hills, spearheading the incorporation vote and being elected as Chairman of the Charter Commission that was tasked with writing the Charter for the new city. After Cityhood was approved by the voters, Robert was elected to the first City council and subsequently elected as the First Mayor of the newly formed city of Farmington Hills Michigan by the council members.
After serving the new City of Farmington Hills, Robert went on to be elected to the Oakland County Board of Commissioners. During this time he also chaired the Economic Development Corporation of Farmington Hills helping to ensure a complementary industrial and commercial tax base to support the growing community. His many years of community service were later acknowledged when he received the “Citizen of the Year” award.
After retiring to Naples, Robert continued his community service, serving as President of the homeowners associations of Colliers Reserve and Remington Reserve.
An accomplished pilot, Robert earned Complex and High Performance Aircraft Endorsements, and Instrument and Multi Engine Ratings while logging over 4000 hours in the air.
Robert was an avid reader and he loved history. He enjoyed golf and travel with his wife June, traveling extensively throughout the world. They especially enjoyed their return trips to Ireland and Scotland that provided the opportunity to visit with their families “from the old country”. June and Bob were a special couple and were wonderful dancers who spent countless hours in each other’s arms on the dance floor.
His faith was meaningful throughout his life as he served as Choir Director of his childhood parish of St. Michaels in Belfast. As an active member of First Presbyterian Church in Farmington Hills, he served as a Deacon, Elder, Chairman of the Finance Committee, and Chairman of the Pastor Search Committee. After retirement, Robert and June attended The Moorings Church in Naples FL.
Services will be held at The Moorings Presbyterian Church (791 Harbour Drive, Naples FL 34103) on Friday October 26, 2018 at noon.
The family wishes to thank the physicians, nurses and support staff of US Renal Care, Bayshore Memory Care, and Brookdale Senior Living Center for their kindness and loving care for Robert and June.
“The Family asks that in lieu of flowers, a memorial gift in Robert’s name be made to either the National Kidney Foundation or The Alzheimer’s Association.”
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National Kidney Foundation