PEORIA HEIGHTS – John T. McConnell, 68, of Peoria Heights, passed away at 8:38 a.m., Monday, July 1, 2013, at UnityPoint – Methodist.;John was born on May 1, 1945, in Peoria to Golden and Margaret (Lyons) McConnell.;He is survived by his son, Justin (Rhonda Milburn) McConnell of Peoria, his long time companion and girlfriend, Pamela Burling of Peoria, his sister, Barbara McConnell of Peoria, his brother, William (Gayle) McConnell of Martha’s Vineyard, MA, and his beloved granddog, Bella.;John was a graduate of Peoria High School, where he was on the golf and wrestling teams and was a member of the Junior National Honor Society. He later graduated from the University of Arizona, where he was a member of Alpha Tau Omega.;John was an Army veteran during the Vietnam War, serving in Korea. He later was a publisher and president of the Peoria Journal Star, retiring in 2006. John believed that he was truly blessed to have worked with so many wonderful and talented people during his long career at the Journal Star.;He was a member of Peoria Country Club and Grey Oaks Country Club in Naples where he enjoyed countless rounds of golf with so many of his dearest friends. He also served on the board of Methodist Medical Center, now known as UnityPoint – Methodist.;John believed life was short and that it was a gift to be enjoyed. One of his favorite sayings was “Work hard and play hard.” Anyone who ever knew him knows that few people have had more fun in their lives than John McConnell. From the golf course, to the card table, to the microphone at Jim’s Steakhouse piano bar, or simply enjoying a lively meal with his family and loved ones, John (a.k.a. Mac, Curly, Roman, and many other nicknames that space and decorum prevent us from listing) absolutely lived life to the fullest.;John will be terribly missed by his family, friends, and colleagues. As many have said upon news of his passing, the world will be a smaller place without him.;His loved ones would like to sincerely thank the many people who have expressed their beautiful memories of John. His family would like to thank the kind staff at UnityPoint – Methodist ICU for helping them through such a difficult time.;A visitation will be from 4-7 p.m., Monday, July 8, 2013, at Wright & Salmon Mortuary. A private life celebration will be held at a later date. Cremation rites have been accorded.;In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Tee It Up For The Troops and the Evans Scholars Foundation.;Tributes and condolences may be submitted to www.wrightandsalmon.com.