Sara McConnell

Sara McConnell

Wednesday, August 12th, 1964 - Friday, May 31st, 2019
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McConnell, Sara
Surrounded by her family, Sara died Friday, May 31st, 2019, at the age of 54, having lived every moment of her life to its fullest. Loving partner of Patti Phillips and mother of Lauren. Cherished daughter of Gordon and Frances McConnell and sister of Leslie Degen (Glen), Anne McConnell, and Janet Watson (Michael). Devoted and fun-filled aunt to James Degen (Elaine), Elizabeth Skilling (Craig), Jennifer Jacobs (Carmine Romano), Chelsea Watson (Justin), Allison Leroux (Matt), Sara Watson, Christopher Watson (Andrea) and Brian D’silva. Great–aunt (emphasis on great!) to David, Connell, Aiden, Katie, Davin, Nick, Elowyn, Poet, Evie and a new Leroux.

Sara spent her youth gathering friends through sports, school politics, YMCA, and Junior Rangers. She headed to the east coast to attend Mount Allison University, later pursuing degrees in exercise science and rehabilitation medicine at McMaster University and University of Toronto. She achieved her dream of becoming a physiotherapist and won many friends along the way at St. Joseph’s Health Centre and St. Mary’s hospital through her sense of humour and positivity. She loved all sports but especially hockey, which is where she met her life-long love, Patti. Together they raised Lauren of whom they are immensely proud. Through hockey, Sara forged some of her closest bonds with a family of friends who provided laughter, love, and support. We are grateful for the many kindnesses these wonderful people have showered on our family.

When Sara was diagnosed with cancer, she decided to live life fully and that is what she did. She was happiest outdoors, loving every season and all weather. She camped, travelled, cycled, gardened, skied, swam and so much more. She loved and supported her family and friends unconditionally and will be missed more than words can say.
We want to thank the kind and compassionate caregivers at Hospice Wellington and Grand River Cancer Centre, particularly, Drs. Mary DeCarolis and Jonathon Langridge.

At Sara’s request, cremation has taken place and a celebration of her life will be held at the Guelph Arboretum Centre on Thursday, June 27, 2019 from 1-4pm. People will have an opportunity to share stories between 2-3pm.

Should you wish to commemorate your relationship with Sara, donations to Hospice Wellington or the Guelph Public Library would be appreciated. Cards available at Gilbert MacIntyre and Son Funeral Home (519-821-5077) or online (
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Service Details

  • Service

    Thursday, June 27th, 2019 | 1:00pm
    Thursday, June 27th, 2019 1:00pm
    University of Guelph Arboretum
    390 College Avenue East
    Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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John Lassel

Posted at 12:04pm
My condolences to all of Sara’s family

I attended Sunnyside Public School and Eastwood Collegiate Institute(E.C.I.)
with Sara, and remember her as an outgoing, vibrant, popular, spirited
and determined person. I remember her running and winning the Prime
Ministers position on student council at E.C.I., where if memory serves me correct
the other candidates whole platform was offering up softer toilet paper to all students,
Sara won by a mile!!

The last time I saw Sara at E.C.I. she was running in a track meet, and as she was rounding the bend closest
to the school, her right cleat caught her left lower leg, an injury that took her out of the race
The last time I saw Sara in person, many, many, years ago, we exchanged cordial hello’s in passing at the Beer Store on Weber Street, Kitchener, ON near Woodland Cemetery, not knowing of course that would be the LAST time we’d see each other

As I’m certain with many other classmates who are getting older, one’s mind often drifts into thinking about what happened to those friends we formed bonds with after spending years together learning and trying to figure out who we were, and wanting to become
After graduation, everyone scattered into all parts of the globe, many we would never see again, some we were lucky enough to run into, a few we were fortunate enough to develop life long friendships with

It is sad to only find out about what happened to our old friends by reading their obits, but, such is the reality of our hurried pace of life
I’m glad to see that Sara continued to excel academically, and in sports. She continued to embrace life to the fullest, and lived each day with ‘carpe diem’ or a ‘seize the day’ philosophy

I’m glad she found love, happiness, and raised a daughter

She inspired me(something which she never knew), in my post secondary school academic years to go for it all, reach higher, do more, give more, be more, don’t give up, and make sure to have some laughs along the way

Sara unfortunately lost the final battle she was in, and died way too soon, way too young
I hope that her family can take some solace in knowing that she was an inspiration to many people they will never meet, as I can attest to here today
Even with her untimely death, it causes me to pause in my office and write these comments about things I’ve been thinking about for days since I’ve learned of her passing

It makes me remember life is finite, and we never know when our number may be called next

It makes me reflect on what I still want to accomplish in life, and not to waste but cherish each day, and embrace those around us

It makes me think, what will and should I do with the time I have left on earth?

Sara, will be missed!!


Sherry Stoneman

Posted at 11:11am
Dear Patti, Lauren and McConnell family,
I am so sorry sorry for your loss. I was friends with Sara at Eastwood through basketball, sorority and students’ council. I regret that despite near misses we didn’t reconnect.
Sara had a perfect combination of competence and disarming goofiness. She is unforgettable and my happy memories of Sara are as vivid as if I saw her yesterday. Her joyfulness was infectious and will resonate forever. ”

- Sherry Stoneman

Sandy Isaacs

Posted at 03:36pm
Sara, you were one of a kind. I first met Sara when I returned to the BreastStrokes dragon boat team after a year's absence to discover there was a new captain. There was Sara , head held high with an explosion of enthusiasm that motivated all of us to jump in literally and do our best - we cancer survivors now had a natural born leader that said through action as well as words - we can do this, and we did. The crumbling effect on one's sense of person from a diagnosis of breast cancer and its treatment, often left many of us to feel vulnerable and afraid even after receiving an 'all clear' . Sara's courage and determination was contagious as was her laughter and love of life. It was a joy to be in her company, a joy to know her and to know through example that life can be good again.
Some of us have had set backs since those days, but Sara's inspiration to live life to the fullest continues. I will miss Sara. I feel her loss and I'm sad that she has had to leave so soon. But I don't think counting life by the number of years we live is what makes life real - Sara's mark on all that knew her is what's real for me.

Shelley Carle

Posted at 10:25am
My deepest sympathies go out to you and your family. I went to Junior Ranger camp with Sara. She was one of the most amazing people I had the pleasure of knowing. Her smile and energy were contagious. I was lucky enough to spend time with Sara and her family when I went to college in Hamilton. And then Sara came and visited Calgary and we had some great times skiing in the mountains. Sara will be sadly missed but knowing she lived and loved life to the fullest will always be forever in my heart.
Love Shelley Carle


Posted at 12:30pm
Sara was a hockey friend in the WHCT and an amazing defenceman and athlete.

My words can't fully express the sorrow I feel after having learned about Sara's passing. May Patti, Lauren & the McConnell family cherish the wonderful times you had with Sara and please know that my thoughts are with the whole family.
Donna Tozzi, Toronto

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