Lorimer “Lorry” McConnell passed away peacefully in the presence of his loving family at his home in Pacific Palisades on April 4 at the age of 93.
He was born on February 21, 1926, in Butte, Montana. Although he grew up in Los Angeles, he spent many childhood summers with relatives on a dude ranch in Montana. Later he would take his wife, daughters and granddaughters to visit the Montana relatives during the summers.
Lorry served in the U.S. Navy during World War II as an aerial photographer with Squadron VD-5 and Interpron II based on Guam in the Pacific area of operations. When the war ended, he moved to Japan with the occupation forces where he spent five months attached to The United States Strategic Bomb Survey in the Tokyo area.
His office was located next to the Emperor’s Palace and one block from General MacArthur’s headquarters. In the Tokyo area, he photographed damage inflicted by U.S. air power, and participated in interviews with survivors, which included covering a Japanese research center where the Japanese were attempting to develop an atomic bomb.
He graduated from Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, class of 1944. After seeing him in a high school play, a talent agent wanted to sign him, but after experiencing the harsh realities of war, Lorry felt compelled to read the works of the best minds in literature, so he majored in English.
He received both a B.A. and a master’s degree in English from UCLA. He was president of his fraternity, Phi Kappa Sigma. He has always been a huge Bruin fan.
He still had an interest in theatre, though, so after starting a family, he co-founded the Gardena Valley Playmakers, where he directed, produced and acted in plays. He used his photography expertise to videotape countless hours of family events, and to take many pictures of friends and family members.
He was passionate about the arts, an excellent writer and an avid reader, but also excelled in mathematics and earned a Certificate in Business Management for Technical Personnel. His family feels fortunate that he taught them to appreciate not only theatre, but also ballet, film, music, art and opera. He also loved gardening and cats.
At Douglas Aircraft Corporation from 1954 to 1957 in the Technical Publications Department, Lorry worked up to the position of assistant department head, responsible for the production of technical documents. From Douglas he went to the Rand Corporation, starting in 1957 in the System Development Division.
When the “spin-off” of the System Development Corporation from Rand occurred, Lorry became a member of SDC’s Public and Technical Information Office. As head of Editorial Liaison, he coached potential SDC authors in book building and negotiated with outside publishing interests.
He served as general editor of the SDC book “Management Control Systems.” In addition, he was responsible for establishing the corporation’s security criteria for military contracts and for protecting SDC’s client proprietary information.
Surviving are his wife of 63 years, Sherrie McConnell, his two daughters, Michelle McConnell and husband Darren Schenck, Leslie McConnell Sullivan and husband Jim Sullivan, and his two granddaughters, Sarah Sullivan Mertel and husband Tom Mertel, and Catherine Sullivan.
A funeral Mass followed by a reception will be held at Corpus Christi Church in Pacific Palisades on April 27 at 2 p.m. If you wish, please send donations in his honor to the American Legion Post 283, 15247 La Cruz Drive, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272.
Thank you for your continued love, support and prayers.