James Kenneth Connell
March 24, 1940 – September 28, 2019
James “Jim” Kenneth Connell of Arlington, Virginia, retired senior foreign service officer, died on 28 September 2019 of complications from leukemia. Jim was born in Norwich, Connecticut, on 24 March 1940. He is survived by his wife of 47 years Pia, their son Chris and Chris’s wife Michelle, their grandchildren Jonathan and Emilie, their daughter Katherine, and his sister Judy. He was a graduate of Georgetown University and Columbia University.
Following a tour in the Peace Corps with the first group of volunteers in Kenya, Jim joined the US Department of State in 1964. He rose to the rank of Counselor, serving as Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d’affaires in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he helped lay the foundation for the 1986 Reykjavik Summit that culminated in the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with the Soviet Union. He was Counselor for Political-Military Affairs in Ankara, Turkey, where he was a force behind several basing agreements with the Government of Turkey and Operation Provide Comfort in northern Iraq. Jim also served as political advisor to the US and NATO Atlantic Commands in Norfolk, Virginia, and to two Chiefs of Naval Operations at the Pentagon. He considered it a privilege of his early career to have liaised with then-dissident and later President of Czechoslovakia Vaclav Havel. He retired from the foreign service in 1996, but continued to serve for many years in temporary rotational positions representing US interests with the revolving European Union presidency.
Jim will be remembered fondly as a typical New Englander, reserved with his enthusiasm for most things except his grandchildren, upon whom he doted and lavished with treats and who called him “farfar;” his favorite sports teams, the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots; and bridge games with his friends. He was an avid collector and reader of history and biographies; a fan of opera and jazz; and never lost his interest in international affairs, regularly attending the DC think tank circuit in his retirement. He passed on his love of baseball to his daughter and his grandson, whose games he watched with pride. He was grateful to have seen his five-year old granddaughter’s first soccer game one week before he died. We will miss him. Services will be private.
No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
James Kenneth Connell
Mary Ab Milano
October 8, 2019
I was one of Jimmy’s cousins. He was named after my dad,his uncle. I have fond memories of Jimmy growing up. We never saw each other very often but I will cherish the memories I have of him. Rest In Peace dear cousin.