Barbara was born in Villa Ridge, IL on January 9, 1933 to Robert and Nina (Palmer) Aldrich. She graduated from Mounds Township High School in 1950. She married her high School sweetheart, Jim “Head” Connell in December 27, 1951.
Barbara’s long and storied nursing career began as a nurse aide at St. Mary’s Hospital in Cairo when she was only 16. After her seven children were born, she returned to St. Mary’s/Padco/Southern Medical Center Hospital as an LPN working private duty then in Obstetrics. She completed her Associates degree in nursing becoming an RN in 1972 and her Bachelors degree in 1974 from SIU Carbondale, where she was recognized for making the Presidents List and achieving her degree with seven children. She worked in various positions and impacted many. She was a school nurse for both Meridian and Cairo High Schools. She was a Nursing Home Administrator at Greenbriar Manor and Daystar Care Center. She was RN Director of Nurses at Meridian Manor. She was a RN consultant for many long term care facilities in the Southern IL area. Her name, BCRN, was and still is remembered, for setting high standards in the medical profession. She was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Mound City, St. Mary’s Women’s Sodality and a member of Xi Delta Alpha of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority.
She is survived by seven children: Susan (Al) Fischer of Abita Springs, LA, Knute (Debbie) Connell of Goreville IL, Jo Ellen(Bobby) Reichert of Grand Chain IL, Marci (Cal) Niemi of Arlington Heights IL, Jane(Martin)Flournoy of Kevil, KY, Joanie (Duke) Jones of Cairo IL, and Mark(Tabitha) Connell of Rock Hill, SC. Barbara is also survived by sixteen grandchildren; Tim Stone, Betsy Stone, Natalie Connell, Adam Connell, Chad Kerr, Barbie Traylor, Rob Reichert, Trevor Niemi, Tyler Niemi, Phillip Flournoy, Lacey Flournoy, Katey Flournoy, Emily Martin, Ryan Goins, Jill Hogg, Brent Connell, and ten great grandchildren Blake Stone, Kailee Traylor, Kaira Traylor, Keontia Traylor, Eva Kerr, Scotty Goins, Brody Goins, Rylee Goins, Myla Hogg and Alyssa Connell.
Two brothers; Del Aldrich of California and Bobby Aldrich of Oklahoma, and one sister; Nancy Watts of Decatur, IL, also survive as well as a host of nieces and nephews.
Barbara was preceded in death by her loving husband of 63 years, Jim “Head” Connell; her parents, Robert and Nina Aldrich; her father and mother in law, James and Josephine Connell; and one grandson Kenny Jones.
Visitation will be from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 pm on Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at Jones Funeral Home in Villa Ridge, Il. Funeral services will be held at 1:00 p.m. at Jones Funeral Home with Father Chris Mujule, officiating. Burial will be at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Mounds.
Memorial Contributions may be made to Daystar Care Center Activity Fund 2001 Cedar Street Cairo Il 62914 or to Smiles I Senior Citizen Center in Mounds, Illinois.
To leave online condolences please visit, www.jones-funeral.com.
Jones Funeral Home Villa Ridge is in charge of the arrangements.