Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference
RICHARD JOHN CONNELL: born in Luton, Bedfordshire on 18th March 1906 into a family of Primitive Methodists. The young Dick Connell was deeply influenced by the faith and practice of his parents and grandparents. At the age of five years he contracted TB of the spine spending long periods in hospital. He was to recover fully from this and later to play cricket for Manchester University. His love of cricket was lifelong. His family background and his own questing faith laid the ground for God’s call to preach and Dick responded, preaching his first sermon at the age of nineteen. The subject was ‘The greatest of these is love’. This was to be a foundation of his life. In the ministry that was to follow all that he did was rooted and grounded in love, exemplified in his service to Methodist Homes for the Aged where he viewed the most practical of details, such as the width of a stair tread, from the perspective of love and care for individual residents.
He was accepted for the ordained ministry of the Primitive Methodist Church and trained at Hartley College followed by a year, in Germany at Halle University. This training deepened his knowledge and interest in theology and the Old Testament. In 1930 Dick had met Phyllis Parrot and they married in 1934 two days after his ordination. He was proud to make the claim to have been the first former Primitive Methodist to be ordained into the ministry of the newly united Methodist Church. Their marriage was to bring fifty-three years of mutual love and support and the joy of two children, Annette and Frederick, and four grandchildren.
From 1932 to 1954 Dick served in the following circuits: Bournemouth (Winton); Cambridge; Northampton (Kettering Road); Loughborough; Leicester (Claremont Street) and London (Highgate). In 1954 he was appointed as General Secretary of Methodist Homes for the Aged and served in this post for twenty-one years. To this task he brought all his considerable gifts, vision and deep caring giving of himself in every way. This service was acknowledged outside the church when he was gazetted MBE. It was fitting that in retirement Phyllis and Dick lived within the family of Methodist Homes that they had done so much to build. After Phyllis’s death Dick continued to live at Maidment Court, Poole and to the very end of his life exercised a quiet, encouraging ministry to his fellow residents, staff and many visitors. He died on 18th April 1994 in the eighty-ninth year of his age and the sixty-second year of his ministry.
Richard was born on 18 March 1906 at Luton, Bedfordshire, to parents John, an agent for hardware goods (1911), and Lissie.
He married Phyllis Maud Parrot (1907-1987) in the summer of 1934 in the Leighton Buzzard Registration District, Bedfordshire. Birth records identify two children.
- Annette J.S. (b abt1940)
- Frederick P.R.J. (b abt1945)
Richard died in 1994 at Poole, Dorset.
- 1931 University in Germany
- 1932 Bournemouth &c
- 1934 Cambridge
- 1937 Northampton Kettering Rd
- 1940 Loughborough
- 1945 Leicester Claremont St
- 1950 London Highgate
- 1954 Worthing (Sup)
Methodist Minutes 1994/29
W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers