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Jean McConnell

Gramma Jean, famous for her pies, apple dumplings, and cookies, passed away Saturday, October 5, 2013, surrounded by her family.

Jean Reisinger was born August 29, 1922, in Elyria, to Raymond and Nellie (Worcester) Reisinger. Her family moved to Oberlin when she was a young girl and she grew up on a farm in New Russia Township, helping with farm chores, picking apples and pears and without indoor plumbing or electricity. She played basketball, volleyball and softball in high school, where her nickname was "Shorty." After graduating from Oberlin High School in 1940, she enrolled in the secretarial business program at the Oberlin School of Commerce then worked for the Klermund’s Ford Garage and the Oberlin Schools Superintendent’s Office.

In 1944, she married Howard McConnell and moved to a house near his family’s dairy farm in Pittsfield. They later took over the farm and Jean became an integral part of the recordkeeping and management of the operation. She lived for nearly 70 years on the family farm, where she and Howard raised three sons and a multitude of Ayrshire cattle, as well as vegetables and fruits, which she canned, froze and preserved.

Jean and Howard were strong supporters of the Lorain County Fair, 4-H and the FFA and were heavily involved in the state and national Ayrshire Breeders’ Associations. Jean was an active member of her church in Pittsfield, especially the Women’s Fellowship Group, which she helped to lead for over 25 years. She helped with the rebuilding and reorganization of the community churches after the Palm Sunday Tornado and she never hesitated to volunteer her organizational, accounting or culinary skills for fish fries, Senior Citizens’ Luncheons and any other church events.

She taught her grandchildren about hard work, responsibility, the importance of family and self-sufficiency, how to properly make pickles and can peaches and tried to teach them the secrets of a perfect pie. She loved her great grandchildren boundlessly and was well known for her warm heart, as well as her warm home.

She was legendary for her open door policy, her gardens and her holiday get-togethers, her love of the Cleveland Indians, and her penchant for the Lawrence Welk Show. She loved to travel and to come home to the farm afterwards. She had an open heart and once you were invited to be a member of the family, you were a part of the family forever. Jean is survived by her two sisters, Eunice Devies and Linda (Dave) Hanmer; her three sons, James (Sharon), Mark (Kathy) and Frank; her five grandchildren, Heather Schofield, Wendy (Mike) Rappach, Emily (John) Sword, Elaine (Robert) Beekman and Matt; and her four great grandchildren, Elizabeth Schofield, Nate Sword, Luke Sword and David Beekman.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; an infant daughter; her daughter-in-law, Louise (James); and an infant granddaughter.

Friends and family will be received Tuesday, October 8, 2013, from 4 until 8 P.M., at Norton-Eastman Funeral Home, 370 South Main St., Wellington. Services will be held Wednesday, October 9, 2013, at the Pittsfield Community Church, 17026 St Rt. 58, Wellington, beginning at 10:30 A.M., with Reverend Kenneth Gerhardt officiating. Burial will follow at Pittsfield East Cemetery.

Donations, in Jean’s memory, can be made to the Pittsfield Community Church or the Friends of the Lorain County Jr. Fair.

Condolences may be expressed online at

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