HAYS - Virgil Furcy McConnell, 81, Tasi'na Tag'a in Assiniboine meaning “Big Blanket,” of Hays died of natural causes Thursday, Dec. 8, 2005, at his daughter's home in Hays.
A wake and rosary were held Monday evening in the St. Paul's Mission Recreation center. A funeral mass was scheduled for 11 a.m. today in St. Paul's Mission Recreation Center with military honors burial in the Grade Cemetery.
Virgil was born Nov. 28, 1924, at Fort Hall, Idaho, to Eunice Bartlett and Frank McConnell. He was adopted by Anson and Margaret McConnell of Hays at the age of 9 months. He was educated at Fort Belknap and Flandreau, S.D., where he set records in track and excelled in football.
At 17, he joined the Navy to serve in World War II. His tours of duty included the invasion of Normandy and South Africa. He transported POW's to the U.S., had duty on a mine sweep ship, the U.S.S. McCook DDS 495 (also known as The Galloping Ghost of the Normandy Coast), and finally was honorably discharged on Feb. 4, 1946. He was a certified welder, licensed mason, ranch hand, BIA heavy equipment operator, police officer, chief of police, forestry technician, sawmill owner and operator, and a school janitor. He retired and became an active spiritual leader.
He married Marie Werk on July 3, 1953. From this union, he acquired eight children.
He enjoyed hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, wood hawking and traditional Indian ways.
He was preceded in death by his biological and adopted parents; wife; daughter; two sons; and five grandchildren.
Survivors include his children, Barbara Plummer (Tim Haakanson) of Billings, Arleta Plummer (Donovan Burress) of Rye, Colo., Virgil (Madonna) McConnell of Wolf Point, Floyd (Angie) McConnell, Rhonda (Albert) Snell and Trenda (Leland) DuBois, all of Hays; adopted children, Howard and Arlene Mount of Hays, Charles Wynn of Wales, England, Ken Newman of Kenya, Africa, and numerous relatives of Fort Hall, Idaho.
Arrangements are by Edwards Funeral Home of Chinook.