Dennis Brooks McConnell, age 80, passed away August 5th, 2019 at Shands Hospital from complications of cancer. Dennis was born in Waupun, WI on August 18th, 1938. He graduated from Pulaski High School in 1956, and went on to serve in the U.S. Army, before receiving his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin in 1970. He married Ruth Ann Bickel November 28, 1964 in Menomonie, WI.
Dennis began his career in 1973 as a State Extension Foliate Specialist and professor at the University of Florida. He became a published author with his book “The Indoor Gardener’s Companion”, alongside numerous articles and journals throughout his academic career. Through his work with the University of Florida, Dennis traveled to various countries including Amsterdam, Chile, Nicaragua, and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago for agriculture outreach research. In 1986, he completed a sabbatical at Stanford University.
Dennis retired in 2006 and then devoted time to traveling, spending time with family, and volunteering. He served as President of the UF Retired Faculty Organization (RFUF) and volunteered with the Kiwanis Club of Gainesville. He was an active member at The Village at Gainesville, serving as a floor ambassador.
Dennis enjoyed travel with his wife, Ruth, to many destinations across North America, Central America, and Europe. Some of his fondest memories include driving cross country to Alaska, as well as exploring national parks like the Appalachian Trail, Sierra Nevada, and Yellowstone. He spent his free time studying military history, American politics, and culture.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth on August 15th, 2015. He is survived by his son, Michael B. McConnell (Susan); daughter, Sharon K. McCartney (Bryan); four grandchildren, Tyler, Quinlan, Ariel, Dennis; and great-granddaughter, Eleanor Ruth.
A celebration of Dennis’ life will be held Saturday, August 17th, 2019 at 10 a.m., at Trinity United Methodist Church in Gainesville, FL. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to the Horicon Marsh (www.horiconmarsh.org) or Carson Springs Wildlife (www.carsonspringswildlife.org) Please visit his memorial page at www.williamsthomasfuneralhome.com. For further information, Williams-Thomas Downtown (352) 376-7556.