Geri McConnell, 82, artist and activist

Alice Geraldine McConnell, Ed.D., known as “Geri” who was an artist, activist and beloved sister of a Ridgefield resident died on March 27, 2017 in her West Haven home. She was 82 years old.

Born March 31, 1934, in the Bronx, NY to Alice (Flanagan) and Frances McConnell, she was the second of seven children. She graduated from Villa Maria Academy, Bronx, NY in 1952 and attended the Parson’s School of Design. She went on to receive both Graduate and Doctorate degrees from Columbia University.  

A professor emeritus of Southern Connecticut State University, Geri taught in the Art Department for over 30 years, rising to the head of the department before her retirement.

She was well known for her wry sense of humor and her creative flair that always kept her ahead of the curve when it came to dress and design. She enjoyed reading the New York Times cover to cover on a daily basis and loved arguing her points as a pastime. One of her “famous” arguments was with her sister Genie who predeceased her by six months and her father.  Family members recall that she was adamant that there would be a “man on the moon” in her lifetime.  

Ms. McConnell was a strident supporter of the ACLU and often boasted that she trekked from New York City to Washington, DC as a teenager to protest the McCarthy hearings. She was proud to be on the McCarthy enemy list.  She was a prolific painter and sculptor who had many gallery exhibits. Family members describe her as a brilliant and talented woman and world traveler who wasn’t afraid to stand up for her principles, but always remained modest about her accomplishments.

She is survived by her siblings: Francis McConnell and his wife, Irene; Patricia Phillips Gavan, Meredith Elmore, and Deedee Giersch and husband Michael of Ridgefield. Geri is also survived by eighteen nieces and nephews and many grand nieces and nephews. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by two sisters: Regina David and Kathleen DeCew.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, April 3, 2017 at 10:15 am at St. Mary Church; 55 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield. Interment will be private and at the direction of the family. Friends will be received on Sunday, April 2, 2017 from 2:00 to 5:00 pm at Kane Funeral Home, 25 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the ACLU or the Connecticut Food Bank.