A photo of Louise McConnell Durante

Louise McConnell Durante

February 16, 1927 - September 14, 2021

Louise McConnell Durante, who mentored youth before and after her two decades as an elementary school teacher, died on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, at age 94 from complications of a recent stroke.

At the age of 40, she matriculated at University of Delaware at the urging of her late husband. With two sons in high school, she graduated with honors in three years and embarked on a 19-year career as a second and third-grade teacher at Greenville, Highlands and Lewis Elementary Schools. She joined her husband in retirement in 1989 so they could expand their travel beyond the summer months.

The second oldest and last surviving child of William J. and Margaret Price McConnell, Louise Frances McConnell was born in Philadelphia on February 16, 1927. She entered the workforce even before graduating from John Bartram High School, and converted to Catholicism shortly thereafter.

She married Albert W. Durante in 1950. His career as a chemical engineer for DuPont brought them in 1956 to Delaware, where she lived for seven years in Brookside, 54 years on Wilson Road in Graylyn Crest, and the last four years at Sunrise Senior Living on Shipley Road.

While at home with their sons, she undertook the role of den mother for Cub Scout Pack 205, devising weekly activities for up to a dozen boisterous Brookside boys, as she nurtured her own sons’ love for learning with books, backyard games and the use of imagination, while finding time to develop her own painting skills.

While teaching, she obtained her master’s degree and was active in the Delaware State Education Association, where she held lifelong membership.

In retirement, she and her husband traveled worldwide, often to Mr. Durante’s family’s ancestral home in the Abruzzo region of Italy.

After her husband died in 1996, she participated in the mentoring programs at Highlands School and St. John’s Cathedral, and for several summers traveled to Northern Ireland among the teaching corps of Ulster Project Delaware, which works to foster understanding and build friendships among youth from the Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods in that country.

She served on the board of directors of Pacem in Terris, the social justice organization that established the Ulster Project, was an usher at the Grand Opera House, and was active with the Wilmington Friends of Italian Culture.

Friends will remember Louise for her vivacious spirit, open-heartedness, and love of reading and music, particularly Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong, whom she saw in the 1940s.

She is survived by her sons, Charles, a Wilmington lawyer, and Laurence, a New Orleans physician; their spouses, Janice and Melinda; her grandchildren, Morley, Julia, Isabel, William and Madeleine Durante; and her great-grandchildren, Alexander and James Long.

A memorial gathering will be announced when public health conditions permit.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests gifts to Pacem in Terris, 1801 Jefferson Street, Wilmington 19802 or online by clicking here.

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19 Guestbook messages for Louise McConnell Durante

  • Condolences to you and your family Chuck. What a fulfilled, dedicated and interesting life she had. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

  • Our family was saddened to hear that Aunt Louise had passed.
    What vivid, beautiful memories we all have of her. She was truly a remarkable woman.
    With Love and Prayers always Roseann, Bob and family.

  • Wonderful person!

  • Chuck, Condolences to you and your family. You mother had a very active, fulfilling, service-oriented life while obviously being a nurturing mother. Sending comforting thoughts your way.

  • For Chuck and family:

    Easy to now understand why you were always the most interesting person in the room. Happy to read that your mother led a wonderful life and grabbed all she could from it.
    Sorry for your loss.
    Still fondly remember the Sunday night basketball games at Tower Hill, and I miss your writings on DE
    Sports.

    Hope we run into each other again sometime.

    Michael Keogh

  • Charles and Family,

    Our deepest sympathy on your mother’s passing. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Mika and Cheryl Hamilton

  • May her memory be a blessing.
    John and Trish

  • Chuck, our heartfelt condolences on the passing of your mother. Her’s was a wonderful life of dedication to family and service.

  • I remember both your parents and your Mom’s photo is exactly as I remember her. My parents are Charlotte and Sam Talucci. Please know I share in your sorrow and will keep all of you in my prayers.
    Christina Talucci

  • Larry and Melinda,
    Condolences to you and your family. Sending prayers and our love.

    Ken and Sheila

  • Louise will have a special place in my heart. I extend my condolences to the Durante family.

  • To all members of the family I send my prayers and condolences. Louise was a dear friend to me personally never to be equalled. She touched so many lives with her positivity, wit and generosity. We all have been blessed by her life.

  • Chuck –
    My condolences to you and your family. What an amazing life your mother led!
    Gail

  • Dear Durante brothers, I am sorry for your loss. It was great to know both of your parents. Even into her 80’s and 90’s your Mom had so much zest for life- I remember her sense of accomplishment when she told me she climbed the tallest mountain in Ireland well in her 80’s. She was smart, wanted to help others and sounds like a great Mom. I know how proud she was of both of you as well. I hope the many memories you have of her live in the stories you share with your grandkids. Peace, Cindy Heldt MD

  • I taught 3rd grade with Louise at Greenville Elementary. We used to chat about our cats during recess duty.
    She was super supportive when I was going through a rough time.
    I admired her positive attitude when she moved to assisted living. A lovely lady, may she rest in peace💜

  • Doctor Durante,
    We are keeping you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.
    Love Your Anvoi Family

  • So sorry to hear of your mom’s passing, Chuck. She was a force of nature and you were fortunate to call her Mom. My best to you and Janice.

  • Dear Durante Family, I was saddened to hear of your mother’s death. I have fond memories of Louise when we were at Greenville Elementary together. I was also fortunate to have been one of her neighbors as we both lived in South Graylyn Crest. I send my sincere sympathy and love to all of you. Pat Armbruster

  • Our warm condolences on the passing of your mother, Chuck.