Indianola — Dorene McConnell passed away on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013.
Memorial services were held Monday, Sept. 9, at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Indianola. Burial was at Indianola I.O.O.F. Cemetery.
Dorene Vercellino McConnell was born Oct. 29, 1929, in Pershing, the youngest child of Antonio and Teresa Vercellino. Her early years were spent in this small coal mining camp.
Her home was in the back of the local general store and post office, owned and operated by her parents. She worked alongside her mother to serve the people of the camp. Her love of roller-skating took her speeding across the rural Iowa countryside in search of the next best rink.
Dorene graduated second in her class from Knoxville High School in 1945. Dorene met her husband of 62 years, Gilbert McConnell, thanks to a stranded ice cream deliveryman. Dorene admired Gib’s antics and fun-loving friends. They married in 1951 in Knoxville.
Dorene joined Gib in the Bussey Café, quickly taking charge of all workings of the kitchen. She honed her skills in Bussey and then in 1956 Dorene and Gib moved to Indianola to launch a new drive-in—the A&W. While Gib was the front man, Dorene took traditional fast food to new heights by featuring her homemade specialties. A well-seasoned cook, she was known for her lasagna and meatballs, as well as her strawberry shortcake with real whipped cream and pecan pie.
Dorene and Gib raised four children, Pat, Sandy, Larry, and Tim teaching them the restaurant business from the time they could reach the counter. It was working alongside Gib and Dorene that intrigued each child to embrace the spirit of entrepreneurship.
Dorene is survived by her husband Gib; four children, Pat (Lynn), Sandy, Larry, Tim (Shelli); her six grandchildren Megan (Tom) Hughes, Ross (Dixie) McConnell, Anna McConnell, Hattie McConnell, James McConnell, Gracie McConnell; her three great-grandchildren Hannah Hughes, Sarah Hughes, and Cooper McConnell. She was preceded in death by her parents, her siblings, one grandchild and one great-grandchild.
Memorials may be given to St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church and the Indianola Community Foundation for the beautification of Buxton Park. Online condolences may be made at www.overtonfunerals.com.