Terry Connell, 57, Luverne, died Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, in Rock Valley, Iowa.
A Celebration of Life was Monday, Nov. 22, from 4-7 p.m. at Big Top Tents and Events in Luverne. A private memorial service and burial of cremains will be at a later date.
Terry James “Butch” Connell was born in Luverne, Minnesota, on Dec. 17, 1963, to Dave and Donna (Klassen) Connell. As a boy Butch grew up helping at Connell Chevrolet in Luverne with his grandfather, Hugh “Hooper” Connell, his father, uncles and cousins. This is where he found his passion for cars. He would always be taking things apart and putting them back together.
When he was 12, he bought his first fixer-upper, a 1962 baby blue Bel Air for $100. He fixed it up and drove it all through high school. He then sold it and made a little money and moved on to many fixer-uppers after that. Butch enjoyed “cruising the loop” with buddies in his classic car.
After graduating from Luverne High School in 1982, he attended Dunwoody Technical College for automotive repair. His passion for cars never ceased. One of his cars was a 1968 baby blue Camaro Convertible that he had fixed up and then sold to be able to buy Chantel an engagement ring.
In 1989 Butch and Chantel married in Las Vegas, Nevada. They lived in Luverne all of their lives, where they raised their two boys, Jesse and Josh. In 1990 Butch began working again at Connell Car Care for the family business, which he purchased from his father in 2002. In 2010 Butch and Chantel bought K&R Auto and moved Connell Car Care to the Hwy. 75 location.
Butch had much passion, including but not limited to collecting old cars and fixing them up, snowmobiling with his boys, brothers and friends, and riding side by sides with wonderful friends and family in the Black Hills. He had a strong bond with their dog, Bentley, that he never intended on loving as much as he did. Butch was never afraid of sharing his food and water with Bentley, and Bentley was never afraid to give Butch all the kisses (aka clean his ears). Butch always had a way of finding the best chick flicks and kids’ movies to watch and get engrossed in, not to mention his favorite TV show, “The Blacklist.”
Butch was a member of the Knights of Columbus, the Luverne Eagles, and the Rock County Sno-masters. Most of all he enjoyed time with his wife, sons and grandchildren, who he never forgot to give the biggest bear hugs to.
Butch was always the guy that would help anyone. He always had a smile on his face, and he lived life to the fullest each and every day.
Butch’s greatest joys were his boys. He was so proud of them. His racing adventures began when his boys started driving a racing Go-Kart in the alley behind their house in Luverne. Then he got them into racing BMX bikes. Butch helped both of the boys fix up their first collector car. Drag racing became a huge part of the kids’ lives with Butch setting a car up for them to race and cheering them on. Some weekends were spent out at the track. After drag racing, the boys decided they should try their luck at dirt track racing where they spent many hours in the shop fixing the car each week with their dad. He passed along all of his knowledge about cars to his boys, and it will always be cherished and forever live on throughout his legacy.
Butch is survived by his wife, Chantel Connell, of Luverne; two sons, Jesse (Ashley) Connell of Luverne and Josh (Christine) Connell of Luverne; three grandchildren, Amelia, Oliver and Quinn, and Baby Connell due mid-summer of 2022; his parents, Dave and Donna Connell of Luverne; three brothers, Al Connell of Morris, Todd (Kim) Connell of Eagle Lake and Chris Connell of Luverne; his parents-in-law, Mel and Bev Viessman of Luverne; a brother- and sister-in-law, Scott and Tricia Viessman of Luverne, and nieces and nephews.
Arrangements were provided by Dingmann Funeral Home of Luverne, dingmannandsons.com.