We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home
Deloria Connell was born September 2, 1931 in San Antonio, Texas. Her parents were Stanley Deloria Smith and Agnes Haas Smith. Deloria lived in Corpus Christi and moved to Harlingen, Texas in 1959. At the age of seventeen, she met a young man, Archie Connell, at a VFW dance. They quickly fell in love and were married December 2, 1949. Prior to their marriage, Archie used his building skills to build a beautiful home on Glenmore Street in Corpus Christi. Archie and Deloria decided, as a couple, that she would be a homemaker and a stay-at-home mom to their three girls. On December 2, 2018, Archie and Deloria celebrated sixty-nine years of marriage. To those who witnessed their partnership, it was so obvious how much they truly loved and adored each other and always demonstrated mutual respect, love, and laughter.
Deloria is preceded in death by her husband, Archie Connell; their eleven-year-old daughter, Leslie Ann Connell; her parents, Stanley D. Smith and Agnes Haas Smith; and her brothers, Gene Smith and Billy Dean Smith. She is also preceded in death by her son-in-law, James Michael Wiggins; her most favorite aunt, Elsie Spillman, and her niece, Debby Skipper.
She is survived by her daughters, Sarah Lynn Stensland (Albert) and Patricia Gaylene Wiggins; her grandchildren, Marcy Ann Stensland (Fernando), Kelly Christine Connell McMahon (James), Andrew Joshua Stensland (Leeah), and James Richard Wiggins (Victoria); and her great-grandchildren, Ben and Mia Remsburg, Allison and Kendall McMahon, and Kennedy Summer Stensland.
In life, family is not only defined by blood; her chosen adopted family include Leland and Gaynell Williams, Stephen Williams, Randy Williams, and Kimberly Williams Beaver. It was the Williams children that named Deloria “Nana”, which she proudly adopted for the rest of her life. Additional chosen family members include Wally and Minnie Garza, Rita Rosset, and Fred and Leti Garcia.
After living with Patty for more than a year, Deloria spent the last eight months at Martha’s House, a private assisted living facility in Harlingen, where she quickly became the favorite resident.
We extend our love and gratitude to Martha Gaytan, Yvette Gaytan “AKA Runner”, and Christina Tovias. No words can express how grateful we are for their true love and care of Mom. Also included in our admiration is Dr. Edward Oorjitham, MD, of Harlingen Family Practice and his caring staff: Maribel, Priscilla, and Maria. Dr. Oorjitham and his staff have been loving and faithful friends to our family for twenty-five years, not only as our medical doctor, but also as a source of great spiritual strength.
For many years, Mom loved doing stained glass work. Almost every family member and friend has a stained glass piece keepsake that she made with them in mind. Mom was a wonderful seamstress and made the majority of the clothes for her three girls as they grew. She had a passion her whole life for quilting. She was instrumental in organizing the Wesley United Methodist Church quilt show as a fundraiser. She also enjoyed collecting dolls and refinishing beautiful antique furniture for her home and daughters. She was a volunteer for the Harlingen Citizens Police Academy Alumni for twenty-five years.
Mom’s number one engagement was her seventy-three years as a member of her sorority group, Chapter Beta Sigma Phi – the last chapter being Preceptor XI Epsilon. During her time, she served every office numerous times and took pride in being a mentor to the younger sorority groups as an advisor. She loved her sorority sisters as if they were her own by blood. Current sorority sisters include Nancy Hentzell, Jeanette Edgley, Katy Burke, Edna Parsons, Robby Smith, and Mary Roger.
Archie and Deloria were faithful and loyal members of Wesley Methodist Church since 1959. Deloria served on many, many committees such as overseeing the church kitchen for special functions for more than thirty-five years. There is a church pew and stained glass window in memory of their daughter, Leslie Ann Connell. It is unfortunate that Deloria’s funeral service will not take place in the church sanctuary due to a lightning strike that damaged the church’s air-conditioning system.
Deloria’s favorite place on earth was at the cabin that she and Archie built on the Arroyo Colorado. It was her happy place. Her favorite thing in the world was to have her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren spend time at the Arroyo, the more the merrier. She would often have her grandchildren at the Arroyo for a month or more during summers.
Among her countless qualities, Deloria was the best mom in the world. She loved her family, was a great friend, a hard worker, and there was nothing she would not do for those she loved.
The family will receive relatives and friends Sunday, September 25, 2022 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home. The funeral service will take place Monday, September 26, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. in the chapel of the funeral home. Following the service, Deloria will be laid to rest at Mont Meta Memorial Park.
Pallbearers will be James Richardson Wiggins, Andrew Joshua Stensland, James McMahon, Fred Garcia, Stephen Williams, and Randy Williams. Honorary pallbearers are Ben Remsburg and Wally Garcia.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Harlingen Citizens Police Academy in care of Sgt. Rebecca Cruz, 1018 Fairpark Blvd., Harlingen, Texas 78550 or to the Harlingen Humane Society, 1106 Markowsky Ave., Harlingen, Texas 78550.
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Harlingen Citizens Police Academy
1018 Fairpark Blvd., Harlingen TX 78550
Harlingen Humane Society
1106 Markowsky Ave., Harlingen TX 78550