Irwin optometrist shared love of sports with sons
Anthony L. “Tony” McConnell Jr. of Irwin was an optometrist who was attentive to his patients, whether it was in his own offices in Latrobe and Fredericktown, Washington County, or when he worked with optometrists in Pittsburgh, Mt. Pleasant, Cranberry or Greensburg.
“He had a very nice way with his patients,” said his son, Sean McConnell of Wilmington, Del. “He had a really nice, loyal group of patients that stayed with him.
“He was always ready to help, whether it was work or family. You knew you could count on him,” he said.
Mr. McConnell, 72, died Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, at his home.
He was born Sept. 22, 1946, in Irwin, the son of Betty McConnell of North Huntingdon and the late Anthony L. “Red” McConnell.
Mr. McConnell’s father was a service manager for Buick auto dealerships before opening his own shop, Red McConnell’s Garage, in North Huntingdon in 1962. That’s where young Mr. McConnell worked with his father, learning how to change the oil on a car and even occasionally rebuilding a transmission.
After graduating from Greensburg Central Catholic, he studied science at Saint Vincent College near Latrobe. His time at Saint Vincent was life-changing because he met Virginia “Ginny” Segedy of Fredericktown, who was a student at Seton Hill College in Greensburg. The couple fell in love and were married in 1970.
After graduation from Saint Vincent, he earned his doctor of optometry degree from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in Elkins Park. He then returned to Irwin to pursue his career.
Sean McConnell has vivid memories of his father coaching him in basketball and soccer in the Norwin recreation leagues. Mr. McConnell also coached soccer when his other son, Christopher, now a Chicago resident, played in recreational soccer.
“He was always active with us,” his son said.
Although soccer was not such a popular sport when he was young, Mr. McConnell played recreational soccer as an adult, until a knee injury ended his playing days, his son said.
Mr. McConnell was a member of Immaculate Conception Church in Irwin, where his wife was director of faith formation. He helped his wife prepare for baptisms and catechisms.
When it came time for vacation, Sean McConnell said the family would pack their vehicle and head to a South Carolina resort, either Myrtle Beach or Hilton Head. Mr. McConnell enjoyed playing golf, “even if he was not playing well,” his son said.
Later in life, Mr. McConnell and his wife would travel around the country, visiting their sons. They would watch their granddaughter, Mallory, while Sean, Christopher and Sean’s wife, Kameron, ran half-marathons, his son said.
Friends were received at Ott Funeral Home, 805 Pennsylvania Ave., Irwin. Parting prayers will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the funeral home followed by a 10 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial celebrated at Immaculate Conception Church.
Donations may be made to Immaculate Conception Church, 308 Second St., Irwin, PA 15642 or Norwin Public Library, 100 Caruthers Lane, Irwin, PA 15642.
Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252 or email@example.com.