ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Robert McConnell, 85 years old, born on May 2, 1933, and passed away on April 19, 2019. We will remember him forever.
Posted by Marti Kambe on May 10, 2019
I am so honored to have been included at Bob's 85th birthday party, and it was just wonderful to see his family he's so very proud of, his home and hobbies, his cars and treasures, and his dear friends.
I have had the privilege of working with him more years than I care to admit, and he taught me so much. He would save articles of interest for us. Whenever we were drafting annual letters to clients, and sick of reading, and rereading ourselves, we'd always comment that we should just send to Bob before we sent to clients. (He ALWAYS found a typo, or had a good question.) And of course, he always had a smile and so much kindness and consideration for every member of our office.
We would often be in Maui for an "after tax" getaway at his birthday, and he would remind me to toast him on May 2...and we did, and always enjoyed being able to think and smile about the nice clients.
Posted by Renee Sanguinetti on May 1, 2019
My favorite memory was seeing Bob at his 85th birthday. He was just beaming. He seemed so happy with all of his car club friends, all the old cars. I don't think I ever saw him happier than on that day. It warmed my heart.
Posted by Ken McConnell on April 30, 2019
Dear Grenny,
You were a great dad! You were my role model, mentor, friend, and the best dad one could ever ask for. The selfish part of me wishes you could have stayed as I miss you each day.......but I know you are in a better place now. I'm glad we had a chance to talk that night in the hospital as I feel like I was able to get a lot off my chest. Rest in peace and know that I will take care of mom so you don't have to worry about her. You were always there for me....believed in me, regardless of what others thought. You left so many good memories with me, Maricar, Dylan, Collin and Ella. I'm glad they all got to know and spend time with you. I look forward to seeing you again soon. 
Love You Always!
Ken

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Marti Kambe on May 10, 2019
I am so honored to have been included at Bob's 85th birthday party, and it was just wonderful to see his family he's so very proud of, his home and hobbies, his cars and treasures, and his dear friends.
I have had the privilege of working with him more years than I care to admit, and he taught me so much. He would save articles of interest for us. Whenever we were drafting annual letters to clients, and sick of reading, and rereading ourselves, we'd always comment that we should just send to Bob before we sent to clients. (He ALWAYS found a typo, or had a good question.) And of course, he always had a smile and so much kindness and consideration for every member of our office.
We would often be in Maui for an "after tax" getaway at his birthday, and he would remind me to toast him on May 2...and we did, and always enjoyed being able to think and smile about the nice clients.
Posted by Renee Sanguinetti on May 1, 2019
My favorite memory was seeing Bob at his 85th birthday. He was just beaming. He seemed so happy with all of his car club friends, all the old cars. I don't think I ever saw him happier than on that day. It warmed my heart.
Posted by Ken McConnell on April 30, 2019
Dear Grenny,
You were a great dad! You were my role model, mentor, friend, and the best dad one could ever ask for. The selfish part of me wishes you could have stayed as I miss you each day.......but I know you are in a better place now. I'm glad we had a chance to talk that night in the hospital as I feel like I was able to get a lot off my chest. Rest in peace and know that I will take care of mom so you don't have to worry about her. You were always there for me....believed in me, regardless of what others thought. You left so many good memories with me, Maricar, Dylan, Collin and Ella. I'm glad they all got to know and spend time with you. I look forward to seeing you again soon. 
Love You Always!
Ken
his Life

Obituary

Robert Howard McConnell 

Resident of Los Altos

May 2, 1933 – April 19, 2019

Bob McConnell passed away April 19 after a brief hospital stay, just two weeks shy of his 86th birthday.

Bob was born May 2, 1933, to Olive and Grenfall McConnell. He attended Oakland High School and the University of California, Berkeley, leaving Cal in 1954 to join the Air Force. After graduating from pilot training, he attended officer training in Bainbridge, GA. It was during his assignment in Libya that he met his “first love” — a 1931 Fiat sports roadster that he restored, instilling a lifelong love of antique cars.

After being stationed in Libya and Japan, as well as Michigan, Arizona, Florida, and New York, he was honorably discharged in 1968 at the rank of captain with over 8,000 hours in the B-57.

He returned to the Bay Area, employed by Pan American World Airways as a flight engineer. It was through his participation with the Mid-Peninsula Old Time Auto Club that he met the second love of his life, Sandy, in 1973; the couple wed in 1974.

They bought their forever home in Los Altos in 1975 and spent many years transforming the single story ranch house into a New England saltbox, completing nearly all of the work themselves over many years. The home, with it’s extensive gardens, has been the setting for family gatherings ever since.

Upon retiring from Pan Am after 17 years of flying 707s and 747s, Bob focused on several real-estate ventures, including an apartment complex in Mountain View and a Laundromat in Milpitas, which has since been built up to four locations throughout the South Bay, and on his various hobbies.

Bob collected, restored, and drove many antique cars, including five 1920s Model T Fords, a 1931 Buick, a 1935 Chevrolet, a 1947 Ford Cabover truck, and his 1931 Fiat roadster. The couple enjoyed traveling and toured much of the West Coast with various antique car clubs.

As a lifelong bird fancier, Bob raised Birmingham Roller pigeons and many other kinds of birds. He also enjoyed gardening and was a self-taught carpenter, electrician, and plumber. He enjoyed skiing and camping with family and friends.

In 1990, the couple purchased a lot on Donner Lake and designed a six-bedroom “cabin,” which was Bob’s home away from home for nearly 20 years.

Bob was an active member of Los Altos United Methodist Church for 40 years and made many close friends there. He is survived by his wife Sandy, his sons and daughters-in-law, Dan & Chris Pitchford-Luke, Larry & Renee Sanguinetti, and Ken &Maricar McConnell; and grandchildren Dylan, Collin & Ella McConnell, and Genevieve Sanguinetti. He was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather, known as “Grenny.”

A celebration of his life will be held on May 11 at 3 p.m. at Los Altos United Methodist Church. Memorial contributions may be made to Yosemite Conservancy: Yosemiteconservancy.org

Recent stories

It's a Pilot Thing!

Shared by Ken McConnell on May 28, 2019

Hi, Sandy!

Here is a beginning form many beginnings for something you might want to use(or not) at Bob's service. 

A lot of pilot things in there, but that part is for Bob who knew it every day, and responded to it in the hospital, and it's for you and your kids and grandkids to maybe get a better sense of some of the things he went through on a daily basis for years,all over the world so you all might have good, and better and perhaps more fulsome lives.

Sometimes, we know so little about our parents and grandparents -- particularly their professional lives.

Hope it helps, if only to bring you some smiles.

I enjoyed trying to write it.


Sincerely,

Tony


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

McConnell Airline 85 Alpha, this is San Francisco Approach Control
You are cleared for a Precision Approach to Runway 28 Right
The Winds are from the North at 7 knots gusting to 13. Altimeter is 29.92
Visibility is a Quarter Mile in smoke and haze, the haze being caused by an outpouring of gratitude by the ten of thousands of people you have flown safely through the world’s skies of Pan American World Airlines.

McConnell Air 85 Alpha, please Squawk IDENT.  Thank you, 85 Alpha. IDENT received.  I show you, 13 miles East on the 280 degree radial on a heading of 283 degrees.

Turn right to 288 degrees to intercept the runway approach path.
McConnell Air 85 Alpha, this is your final approach controller. How do you read me?

I understand you read me 5 by 5. You need not reply to my instructions from this point on.

If you do not hear my voice for 10 seconds during this final approach you are to execute a missed approach.

You are presently 10 miles from the Touchdown point on San Francisco Airport’s Runway 28 Right. Check your aircraft landing configuration.
Your altitude should be 3,000 feet. Your Dad and Mom are directly ahead and above you. Smiling. Glad to see you again.
85 Alpha, you are intercepting the glide slope. Begin your descent now at 400 feet per minute.
You are now 8 miles from Touchdown on Runway 28 R. If you check your 2 o’clock position to the right, you should be able to see your son, Dan and his wife, Chris. They are waving. Smiles. Pride. Goodbye Tears. And love.
,
McConnell Air 85 Alpha, you are slightly above Glide Slope. You are still left of the Center line but correcting nicely.
You are 5.5  miles from runway Touchdown. Your altitude should be 1,800 feet. Call the middle marker inbound.
85 Alpha, one mile off your left wing at 9 o’clock, your son, Larry, and his wife Renee and their daughter Genevieve are there. Waving. Smiles. Goodbye Tears. Pride. Love.
85 Alpha, You are on Center Line. On Glide Slope.
Maintain heading 280.
5.0 miles to Touchdown.
You are passing down through a low dust cloud caused by hundreds of your old friends, driving vintage cars and wearing strange clothes. Waving. Smiles. Tears. Picnic baskets. Beer.
McConnell 85 Alpha, you are dropping slightly below Glide Slope. Increase airspeed. Decrease your rate of descent.
You are on Glide Slope and on Center Line 3.5 miles from Touchdown.
You are now passing off the right wing at 3 o’clock your son, KEN, his wife MARICAR, and their children DYLAN (who is coxswaining a long boat) and COLLIN and daughter ELLA just below. Waving. Smiles. Goodbye Tears. Pride. Love.
You are 2 miles from Touchdown. You are on Glide Slope and on Center Line.
Now you should be able to see all three of your sons, DAN and LARRY and KEN, and their families, and together they are all pointing up at your aircraft and yelling: “There goes GRENNY!”  Love. Appreciation. Gratitude. Respect.  For their DAD and their GRANDAD and for GRENNY!
You are 1.5 miles from Touchdown. Your kids and grandkids and thousands of Methodists, friends and other unspecified denominations are waving along both sides of the runway ahead. No sign yet of your wife.
You are on Glide Slope and on Center Line. One mile to Touchdown. Captain McConnell, you have this approach wired.
Still no sign of your wife.  Half mile to Touchdown. Where could she be?
Ah, well. 85 Alpha, check your flaps, landing gear is down, locked and you have three green, for landing.
McConnell Air 85 Alpha, you are approaching airport minimums.  If you have the field in sight, take over visually and land.
BEAUTIFUL landing, Captain McConnell. Welcome home!
Contact ground control on 118.5 and follow the guide truck with the lighted sign that says: 
“Welcome home, Captain Bob, Follow Me!”
Uh, Captain McConnell, it appears that the airport “Follow Me” truck is being driven by your wife, Sandy. 
Wouldn’t you know it?  You fly planes successfully for millions and millions of miles and certain things don’t really change that much once you land the plane again. J
Ah, well, Captain McConnell,  just follow the truck. You are in pretty good hands. But then again, you always were. Ever since you met her.
Have a good day, Sir! You are cleared to Gate 3:16.
Oh, and thank you for being you : Robert McConnell: a wonderful son, a loving and caring husband, father, grandfather, pilot extraordinaire, and one-of-a-kind one-in-a-million friend.

Eulogy of My Dad

Shared by Ken McConnell on May 12, 2019

No one told me just how difficult it would be to write a eulogy for my dad.  How do you summarize 85 adventurous years into a 5-10 minute eulogy?  I wanted to summarize the things I remembered, but not get too emotional.  I want to give everyone a little more information so they feel that they know him a little better when they leave.

My dad was a romantic.  He was old-fashioned.  He was polite, humble, hard-working, caring, and funny.

A few things you might not have known about my dad.

* He developed a love for animals at a very young age.  He even brought home a baby goat and hid it in his closet until his mom found it a few days later.

* As a teenager, he delivered newspapers throughout the Oakland and Berkeley hills on his single speed bicycle.

* He joined the Air Force and flew B57 bombers.

* While stationed in Libya during the 1950s, he started and led a Boy Scout troop and took the local kids camping.

* As a bachelor, and Flight Engineer at Pan American, he would volunteer to work Christmas and other holidays so the married FEs could spend the time at home with their families.

* He spent several summers building houses in up-state New York.

* He received a letter from the President of Pan Am, thanking him for his service, as he flew over 50 missions into Vietnam during the war to take U.S. soldiers on R & R.

* He was quite the dancer and enjoyed dancing the Charleston with my mom.

* He loved Hershey bars with almonds.  I'm sure we will find several boxes of these hidden around the house.

* He insisted that all of his cars were females and named them accordingly.  Mary, topless Tilly, Bertha, Mary-Ann, and Penny.

My dad was never the type of person to dominate a conversation.  He was mostly a listener.  He would occasionally chime in with a story from his past, but if you ever brought up or asked him about antique cars (especially Model Ts), or anything to do with gardening, airplanes, construction, or laundromats.....well, then you were in for it.  He would tell the story as if it had just happened....detailed and very specific.

My dad use to travel a lot while working for Pan Am.  It use to be exciting to take him to the airport and watch him walk through the terminal in his uniform as he disappeared through security.  Sometimes we would drive around to the parking area and wait for his plane to take off.

When he was home, we did manage to find time for family game nights.  He enjoyed teaching us chess, cards, or playing Monopoly.....he always chose the old car.  I can remember him getting so excited and rubbing his hands together as someone moved their game piece around the corner and approached one of his properties.  It was certainly the fun side of him, but frustrating because he always seemed to win.

He also enjoyed the outdoors.  He tried to get us excited about camping as I believe he had a lot of fond memories from his youth.  As a youngster, his family would spend the summers camping in the Sierras.  His dad would drive back to the city on Sunday, work all week, then return to the campsite for the weekend.  My dad even attended UC Berkeley in an attempt to earn a degree in Forestry so he could become a National Park Ranger, but never completed it.  He dropped out and joined the Air Force.

He was also a professional when it came to re-purposing old materials.  I remember him calling to me to come help him out, only to find him hooking up the trailer so we could go pick up some "perfectly good" old lumber, bricks, or furniture that someone in the neighborhood had set out for garbage pickup.  I remember dreading those trips as I would always ask him what we were getting and his response would go in this order. 

Turn and look at me.  Have a smile on his face.  Then say "we will only get as much as will fit in the trailer".

I would proceed to roll my eyes and make some unrepeatable comments.  But loading the trailer was actually a time that we could bond and talk about things that were going on in school or the world.  Then we would get back in the car and drive home.  As we would make that turn onto Portland Avenue, he would turn to me and say "OH, and don't tell your mom".  She always knew though......regardless of the size of my parent's yard, you couldn't hide that much crap.

Even now, when my family and I are out driving and we pass a pile of stuff out in front of someone's house....I find my head turning to look.  But, everyone in the car will see and say "NO Dad!  We are NOT stopping."

We also had a rule in our house that each of the boys had to do no less than 4 hours of manual labor on each Saturday and Sunday before you could hang out with your friends. This typically meant mowing the lawn, raking leaves, cutting wood, or my favorite......digging ditches.  The ditch consisted of a 3x6 foot hole that was 4 feet deep.  The edges needed to be squared off and the measurements had to be precise.  Once completed, we had to call my dad to inspect it.  Inspections were the worst because he would make you sweat over whether or not it was going to pass.  But almost always my dad would say "oh, it's not exactly 4 feet deep, but it's close enough."  Once we had his blessing, we were given the go ahead to fill the hole back in.  One layer of dirt, one layer of sand, one layer of mulch, one layer of manure...mix, then repeat.

I never really understood what the point of this all was, but I believe he wanted us to (1) Work Hard, (2) Accomplish the goal, (3) Take pride in our accomplishment, and (4) understand how hard it was to dig ditches so we would work hard and never have to do that for a living.

When I left for college, my dad gave me a present and said that this is all I would need in the world.  I opened it and found a AAA card, a roll of duct tape, and a $20 bill.  He felt that most things could be fixed with the duct tape and a little ingenuity, but as a last resort you could always call the 1-800 number on the back of the card for help.  Then use the $20 to go get something to eat.  That's the type of person he was....try to fix it yourself.  If you can't then call for help.  And never forget to eat.

We were really fortunate to have my dad.  He was a good man!  He was a good husband!  Hew was a good friend! He was a good role-model!  And he was a good dad! He tried his best at everything he did.  He was multi-talented and could build almost anything.  He could teach you how to navigate by the stars or crank start a Model T without breaking your arm.  That's what dads are suppose to do....teach their children so they don't have to re-learn everything on their own.  Have someone to teach you the right way so as to minimize the number of failures and disappointments.  But also allow you to fail, and teach you to get up and try again with minimal frustration.  That is exactly what he did.

I recently saw a car with a Pan Am license plate frame on it.  The plate read "Gone but Never Forgotten."  It seems fitting to use that here.  So thank you dad, for doing all the things you did.  Thank you for putting us first before your own needs.  Thank you for giving us an appreciation for nature and the ability to fend for ourselves.  We are better people because of you and your wisdom.  You may be gone, but you will never be forgotten!

They Don't Make Them Like They Used to Anymore...

Shared by Mark Arnold on May 7, 2019

A true friend that I was so blessed to have in my life – as a fellow neighbor, antique car tinkerer and generous source of knowledge (well beyond cars). Some of my favorite memories were listening to Bob recall the many adventures he took in his beloved Fiat he named “Emma.” One of my favorites was when Bob drove Emma from Vincent AFB in AZ to MacDill AFB in FL. Along the way he hit a heavy rainstorm. With no top on the car and after being continually flooded by oncoming traffic, Bob finally decided to pull into a café – only to learn from all the gawkers watch him walk in that he had just driven through a tornado! In the true sense of the Italian adjective, Bob clearly demonstrated “bravado” throughout his many road trip adventures.

Bob was an extraordinarily kind person with a contagious smile. He was full of life and love for Sandy, their kids, grandchildren and so may close friends over the years.

While we will miss him, Bob scattered the seeds of goodness within all of us to continue his legacy of service to country, community and one another.