BRET MCCONNELL 1974-2011

Bret McConnell passed away on August 12, 2011. Bret was loved by many. According to Dignity Memorial, he was a father, husband, son, brother, and uncle and will be sorely missed by family and friends. Bret was born on April 23, 1974 in Portland, Oregon, the son of Don and Patt McConnell. The family spent the first few years of Bret's life in their small home on Southwest 8th Avenue before moving to "the house he grew up in" near Lewis and Clark College. Bret attended Capitol Hill Elementary School and during 3rd grade he was a member of the legal defense team in the trial of The Three Bears v. Goldilocks. Against the odds, Bret and the rest of the defense team somehow managed to get Goldilocks off the hook. Bret also began his athletic career playing soccer, Little League baseball, and basketball, the latter becoming his lifelong passion.As the McConnell family settled into their new home, Bret met some important people in his athletic development - our next door neighbors Ralph and Ruth, and the neighbor boys up the street, Tom and Jeremy. It's not clear if it factored into Don and Patt's decision to purchase their house or if it was just fate, but Ralph and Ruth had an awesome basketball court in their back yard ミ with lights. It didn't take too many late night knocks on the front door asking for Ralph or Ruth to turn on the court lights until the basement door was just always left unlocked and Bret knew where the light switch was. They endured years of late night shooting, games of H.O.R.S.E., one-on-one, two-on-two, and on the weekends five-on-five. As the games went on throughout the years, during summer or after school, Bret's ability grew by leaps and bounds to the point he easily kept pace with his older brother and his friends.

As Bret grew and progressed on to Jackson Middle School, he took on the new role of "older brother" to John McConnell. As John grew up, Bret was a major part of his life. Bret excelled in school, played in the stage band, and continued to show interest in basketball, but established himself as an accomplished baseball player. Bret played in Mt. Sylvania Little League and was part of the powerhouse that was Bye Engraving. He later played for the Mt. Sylvania all-star team. He also played in Jackson Babe Ruth, again playing on several all-star teams (almost losing his front teeth in the process).

Through these years, Bret and his family shared many enjoyable vacations. There were trips to Black Butte, Sunriver, Memorial Days spent at Ka-Nee-Tah, and a family trip to Hawaii when he was in 6th grade. Of special memory were the family's summer trips to Lakewood, New York to visit his grandparents.

Bret attended Wilson High School in southwest Portland. He expanded his group of friends and continued to maintain a high grade point average. Bret played football, basketball and baseball his freshman year. Bret began to focus on one sport ミ basketball. He put in hours of work on the court, attending camps, and doing whatever work was necessary to become a better player. His junior year, Bret helped the Wilson Trojans win the state championship. Bret's senior year he hoped to help Wilson win another title, but his season was cut short by a knee injury. Bret had ACL surgery and was sidelined the rest of the year.

Bret attended Claremont McKenna College in California and pursued a double major in economics and mathematics. He played basketball through his junior year and participated in an internship at Georgetown University. While at Georgetown, Bret became very interested in the Hungarian culture and began his studies to become fluent in the Hungarian language.

Early in Bret's senior year he became very depressed and was diagnosed with bi polar disorder. Bret had a difficult time for the next year battling through the ups and downs of this illness. Through his hard work, determination, and with help from his family and friends, he began to slowly return to his former self. He took classes at Portland State University until he was well enough to return to Claremont McKenna College and complete his bachelor's degree in economics.

After college Bret lived abroad in Hungary where he taught high school English in the town of Csongrd and coached the boy's basketball team. Bret was the best basketball coach the school had ever seen. It was there he met the coach of the girl's basketball team, Emese (Emi) Balogh, his future wife. Bret and Emi's first child, プa, was born in Hungary. The family later moved to Pleasantville, New York and Bret took a job as a financial analyst with N.E.R.A., an economic consulting company.

After three years, Bret and the family moved to Bloomington, Indiana where he earned his Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) at the Kelly School of Business at Indiana University. Bret and Emi's second child, Thomas, was born in Indiana. While attending I.U. he traveled to India and China as part of his studies and took an internship at a large Hungarian bank.

Bret returned to Oregon and settled his family in the Tigard area. He took a position as a financial analyst with Morley Financial. He completed a long, three part examination process and achieved his Charter Financial Analyst (C.F.A.) designation. Bret was respected and admired by all of his co-workers. He was very involved in プa and Tomi's athletics, mentoring their development in basketball and other sports. He also was very supportive of his niece and nephew, attending their games throughout the year. Bret also coached several recreational and competitive basketball teams in the Lake Oswego and Tigard youth programs. He never slowed down, playing as much as he could at Club Sport and various city leagues.

Bret, whether it was high school, college, abroad in Hungary, or at work, was either on a basketball team or was putting one together. Recently he had organized a team to play with his two brothers. He still shot the 3-pointer as well as he did in the state championship game.

プa recently attended the Cascade Basketball Camp which Bret had attended 20 years earlier. Bret was presented with a
Certificate of Award for best defender. プa, just like her father, came home from the camp with the same award. Bret and his family went camping, visited Crater Lake, and joined his parents and brothers at Sunriver during the summer. Bret, Emi, プa, and Tomi made multiple trips to Hungary to visit Emi's family. On their most recent trip Bret and Emi enjoyed a romantic Mediterranean cruise.

Three months ago Bret's illness recurred. He recognized it immediately and began to seek help, but he began to slip deeper into a state of depression. Despite Bret's best efforts, the support of his family and co-workers, and his therapist, he was no longer able to work. He took a medical leave of absence and focused all his efforts in trying to recover. The same courage, hard work and determination that made Bret a great husband, father, and basketball player, he used to fight this disease. Bret was overcome by this disorder on Friday, August 12th when he took his life.

Bret is survived by his wife, Emi; his children プa and Thomas; his parents Don and Patt; his brothers Peter and John; and his niece and nephew Katie and Mitch.