Doris McConnell was a woman who cared deeply for her family. She loved watching her daughter Lauren grow, as well as her granddaughters, all of whom eventually worked for her and Leo’s family business, Cement Hill Storage. She also enjoyed seeing all her great-grandchildren grow up around her.

Doris Mary Harpster was born on April 19, 1931 in Fresno, where she was raised, went to college and became a teacher. Doris and Leo were wed on July 1, 1953. Doris began her teaching career in 1953. In 1957, their only child, Lauren McConnell, made her debut. In 1959, Leo, Doris and Lauren all moved to Santa Barbara for Leo’s work in lath and plaster. All three soon moved to Portland, Oregon for Leo’s construction work. Doris continued teaching at an elementary school in in the Portland Oregon School District. Finally, in 1964, they all three moved to Fairfield, California where Leo began operating a construction and paving business.

While in Fairfield, Doris also taught at several schools in the Fairfield School District. Doris taught 1st through 3rd grade. She loved teaching 3rd grade students the most as they were always so excited to learn about cursive. After 15 years of teaching, Doris left the classroom to continue running the books for Leo’s businesses. Leo always reminded us that the smartest thing he did was marry a teacher. Doris was sharp as a tack, and always had a keen eye for details. Leo, Doris, and Lauren moved through several homes while living in Fairfield. Every time they would, it would be to a nicer home that Leo had spruced up through renovation. Leo and Doris started Cement Hill Storage in 1984. Between the two of them, they built a business that has spanned four generations of their family. With nothing but a warehouse and dirt lot, hard work, and a vision, they created one of the most successful small businesses in Solano County that is still thriving today.

Leo and Doris enjoyed traveling in their RV all over the state. They traveled to Yosemite several times. They spent many years attending the Rose Bowl in Southern California. Doris absolutely loved flying with Leo when he finally obtained his pilots license. Leo and Doris loved spending time with their Square Dancing club in Solano County, an activity that they both got to enjoy together. Doris enjoyed many fun games of Rummikub, dominoes and canasta with her beloved Leo.

After nearly 30 years at storage, Leo and Doris decided it was time to retire to enjoy their golden years. In 2007 Leo and Doris had had their forever home built in the quaint community of Fieldbrook, deep in Humboldt County. Their property was surrounded by towering redwoods. Leo even had a large garden area built where Doris spent many years growing a plethora of flowers, vegetables, and herbs. There was never a shortage of her favorite flower, the California Poppy, in her garden. Doris loved playing the piano which she spent several years playing for the Fieldbrook church.

Though she slowed down in her later years, taking it easy at Timber Ridge in McKinleyville, Doris always remembered her Leo, the funny stories of him learning to fly, all of her grandchildren and great grandchildren and the memories they made. We are forever grateful for the length of time we got to have with her and will always cherish all of the good times, life lessons, and knowledge we gained from her.

She will be laid to rest with her husband Leo McConnell on Nov. 9, 2023 in Fairfield, Calif. Services will be held at Bryan Braker Funeral home at 11:30 a.m.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Doris McConnell’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.