Cooper: Jack McConnell was Renaissance man

Dr. Jack McConnell

A great man with ties to Chattanooga died with little fanfare in South Carolina earlier this week.

Dr. Jack McConnell, director of the development of Tylenol, developer of the standard tuberculosis test, director of the program for the first commercial MRI system in the United States and founder of the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic, died on Hilton Head Island at the age of 93.

He spent time in the Chattanooga area as a child - the youngest of eight - when his father was appointed to the area as a Methodist minister. One of his brothers was Dr. Sam P. McConnell, who was superintendent of Hamilton County Schools from 1955 to 1974 and for whom McConnell Elementary School is named. One of his children is Page McConnell, keyboardist for the rock band Phish, with whom he would occasionally appear to sing his favorite song, "Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home?"

Although McConnell's medical accomplishments were significant, it was the founding of Volunteers in Medicine that gave him the most pride.