Sequoyah High School Student
SEATAC, Wash. - Zeke McConnell (Seq. Class of 1938) ,88, was born in Stilwell, Okla. on January 1st, 1919, to a full-blood Cherokee mother, Josie Chuculate, and an Irishman, Jessie McConnell. Zeke was a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, and grew up on a small farm in Bunch.
His mother passed away when he was five. The grandparents were unable to locate his father, so the children were declared orphans and sent to Sequoyah Indian School in Tahlequah. He graduated from high school in 1938 and earned a diploma from Bacone Junior College in 1941.
Zeke was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942. He was an Alamo scout in the U.S. Army’s 6th Infantry. The scout units gathered intelligence behind enemy lines in the Philippine Islands.
See Cherokee Phoenix article . . . .
After the war he was discharged at Fort Lewis, Wash. He took a job as a painter and began work at Cushman Indian Hospital, where he met his wife-to-be, Mae Ladinne Duffy. They were married in 1946.
Zeke was an avid hunter, liked to fish and took the family on car camping vacations in some of the most beautiful parks and mountains in Washington and Oregon. He was the scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 358 for several years and served as president of the local Parent-Teacher Association at Crestview Elementary. He developed and performed archery exhibitions and traditional American Indian dance demonstrations for a variety of local groups and organizations, including Tyee High School.
The McConnell tribe eventually grew to five children: Kathleen, Leslie, Joseph Brad, Denise and Tyler.
Zeke retired from the Seattle Center maintenance department in 1982. His life was filled with frequent visits to and from his five children; eight grandchildren; and eventually, three great-grandchildren. He was full of vigor, loved to tell and hear jokes, made friends easily and respected people regardless of their age.
He passed peacefully from heart failure on Feb. 4th, 2007. He is survived by his wife, Mae (Chick) McConnell; daughters: Kathi Henderson (Jack), and Denise McConnell, and sons, Leslie McConnell (Janet), Joseph DrowningBear, Tyler Running Deer (Jen).
Memorial services were 3 p.m., Saturday, March 3, at Bonney-Watson Washington Memorial.