Kathleen Connell was born July 24, 1931, in Long Branch, New Jersey near the Atlantic Ocean and spent many magical times enjoying the outdoors and ocean during her childhood. Even in school, Long Branch Senior High School “The Green Wave” she was a natural leader. She was president of her high school club and always had plans for future education and volunteer work.
When Kathleen married James Connell, she was enthusiastic about moving to many locations in Louisiana and Texas. Always making sure her kids were actively involved in many activities, and still managing to do volunteer work for many woman’s organizations along the way.
Kathleen completed her BA in Education at LSU and her master’s degree at Centenary College. She was a pioneer in improving the French heritage program in Louisiana and was able to study abroad in France and Montreal Canada to improve her French language and culture skills. This led her to become a French teacher for Bethune Elementary in Caddo Parish for 12 years and foster many French teachers from France to complete internships in Caddo parish.
Kathleen’s love for the outdoors and outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, and exploring America’s natural beauty was passed to her children and grandchildren. She spent many years fostering that love by camping and traveling to anywhere she could go with her children and grandchildren during summer months.
After she retired from teaching, she spent many years traveling all around the world with family and friends and shared many of her exciting entertaining exploits. With her love for art, she volunteered at the Strand Theater to improve Shreveport’s Arts community. She was a wonderful friend and active in community. Always ready to aid in love and assistance to her family and friends.
Kathleen eventually slowed her travel adventures to take care of her aging mother. Her mother spent her golden years with her and her family. When she wasn’t taking care of children and her mother, she volunteered at Schumpert cancer center. She became very devoted to the Catholic Church and went on retreats and volunteered for many events.
Kathleen was preceded in death by her parents, Catherine and Arthur Gawthorp; and her brother, Arthur Gawthorp. She is survived by her children, Linda Connell Bezdicek and husband Robert of Tulsa, OK, and sons, Richard Connell and wife Diane of Bossier City, LA and David Connell and wife Lila of Shreveport, LA; 13 grandchildren, Danielle Breaux Hylton and husband Craig, Lowlan Breaux III and wife Caitlin, Joey Bezdicek, Kevin Bezdicek and wife Kasi, Lee Stutts, Rachel Ward and husband Josh, Jubilee and Clementine Ward, Rebekah Howe and husband Chris, Madelyn and Savannah Howe, Grant Connell, and Caroline Connell; three great-grandchildren, Sierra Peckham, and Kadin and Katelyn Bezdicek; and her ex-daughter-in-law, Jann Connell.
Visitation will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, December 10, 2021, at Osborn Funeral Home with a funeral service beginning at 11:00 a.m. Father James McLelland will officiate. Burial will follow at Forest Park Cemetery.
Serving as pallbearers will be Robert Bezdicek, Grant Connell, Lowlan Breaux, III and Chris Howe.
Special thanks to Kathleen’s wonderful caretaker, Jerrie Gast. As well as the elderly independent adult apartments “Evangeline” where she lived for many happy years and is a wonderful place for elderly independent adults. Garden Park Nursing Home where Kathleen stayed until her time of passing, and The Cathedral of St. John Berchmans Catholic Church for supporting Kathleen in spiritual life and journey.
In lieu of flowers please send donations to the Evangeline apartments, 3875 Line Ave, Shreveport, LA 71106.
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