Thursday, February 20, 2003

Obituary: Susan V. McConnell found joy in her art

She 'was always trying new things'

By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Susan V. McConnell's personality lives on in her art.

Whimsical teapots, earthy yet elegant vases and vibrant still lifes attest to her joy, appreciation of beauty and endless energy and creativity.

Her works - paintings in oils, acrylics and watercolors as well as pottery and ceramics - adorn many Greater Cincinnati homes.

Mrs. McConnell, an artist and mother of five, died Feb. 13 of pancreatic cancer at her home in Northside. She was 61.

The daughter of artists - her mother was a miniaturist and her father a photographer and musician - Mrs. McConnell painted for most of her life.

She studied painting at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich., and at the Society of Arts and Crafts in Detroit.

Even while raising her children, she took time to paint nearly every day, said her husband, Martin.

"Susan was always trying new things," he said. "She might try anything artistic. She has done mobiles. She has knitted beautiful sweaters, which were the envy of everyone who saw them."

About 10 years ago, Mrs. McConnell began to work in pottery and ceramics, and clay became her favorite medium.

"She was happiest with a hunk of clay in her hand," her husband said. Largely self-taught, she "brought her fertile imagination to the creation of bowls, vases, mugs, cups, plates, wine corks, teapots and various other shapes."

Mrs. McConnell's works have been exhibited at the Pendleton Art Center and the Miller Gallery.

Born in St. Louis on Oct. 23, 1941, she grew up in Plainwell, Mich., outside Kalamazoo. She also lived in Indiana before moving to Cincinnati in 1974.

She was preceded in death by her son, Stephen Gonzales.

In addition to her husband, survivors include four daughters, Christina Darabi of Ponte Vedra, Fla., Kimberly Wingert of Anderson Township; Deborah Ash of Fort Wright and Angela Gonzales of New York, N.Y.; three stepchildren, Julie McConnell of Richmond, Va., Rob McConnell of Memphis, Tenn., and Jane Halterman of Portland, Ore.; and 13 grandchildren.

A celebration of her life will be at 7 p.m. Friday at Krohn Conservatory in Eden Park.


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