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Ligonier banker was captivated by historical research

Jeff Himler
| Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, 11:00 p.m.

Edwin McConnaughey was serious about his hobbies. He devoted his free time to everything from raising show dogs and jumping horses to boating and photography.

“He was multifaceted,” said Rae Heintzelman Graham of Ligonier Township, a cousin once removed. “I'm finding something new about him every day. He had such an inquisitive mind. Once he learned almost everything he could about something, he went on to learn about something else.”

Perhaps his biggest love was historical and genealogical research. His cousin and other members of the extended McConnaughey clan each received a copy of a family chronology painstakingly compiled by Mr. McConnaughey.

“He traced the genealogy back to the 1700s. Our family was one of the first to settle in the Ligonier Valley,” Graham said.

When he finished that monumental task, he turned his efforts to updating a genealogy of his mother's family, the Craigs, and undertook extensive research on Civil War topics for an unknown project.

“I think his sickness interrupted that,” Graham said.

Edwin C. McConnaughey of Ligonier died Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017, in Excela Latrobe Hospital following a battle with cancer. He was 75.

Born July 4, 1942, he was a son of the late Josiah and Anna Craig McConnaughey. He was raised on the McConnaughey Farm at the west end of Ligonier that is preserved as a headquarters by the Loyalhanna Watershed Association.

Graham said she and her cousin were proud of how the watershed group restored his childhood home, repurposing wood paneling fashioned from trees Mr. McConnaughey helped to cut down. “They saved some of that paneling for wainscoting,” she said.

Mr. McConnaughey graduated from Ligonier Valley High School in 1960 and worked for more than 35 years for Mellon Bank, now Citizens Bank. He later worked at the Lowe's home improvement store in Latrobe.

He completed a six-year stint in the Army National Guard, attaining the rank of staff sergeant. He served on Ligonier Borough Council for 14 years, leading it as president from 1982-84, and was a member of the town's Heritage United Methodist Church.

A talented carver of wood decoys, he enjoyed gardening and cooking. Through it all, said cousin Janet Koontz of Sinking Spring, he was known for “a kind of dry sense of humor.”

A member of the American Kennel Club, Mr. McConnaughey traveled for many years to show Shetland sheepdogs in competition. Koontz has adopted the two pets that have survived him — Katie, a Corgi, and Annie, a Sheltie.

Other survivors include cousins, an aunt and Kolten Conrad of Martinsburg, whom he considered a grandson.

A service will be held at a time to be announced at the Loyalhanna Watershed Farm. J. Paul McCracken Funeral Chapel of Ligonier is assisting the family.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622, jhimler@tribweb.com or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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