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James Patrick Conway


Posted By: Dianne Krogh (email)
Date: 8/10/2008 at 07:50:19

Passing of Lansing's Foremost Citizen


"Jim" Conway is no more!
Just as the sun flashed over the Wisonsin bluffs Wenesday morning the soul of this big, generous man wended its way to Him who gave it.
There is a sadness prevailing in Lansing among those who knew him, which could only be found where a great love and respect prevailed, and the expressions of grief and words of commendations heard on every side only too sorely attest the high regard in which this able man was held in this community.
His has been an uphill fight from the beginning, his trouble originating in an auto accident several years ago.

He had a wonderful vitality, an iron constitution, but his great fight waged with all of his masterful energy, could not combat the grim reaper and he passed peacefully to that home beyond the skies, loved and respected by his fellow townsmen and revered by all who knew him for his many good qualities.

In the loss of this man Lansing loses one of her foremost citizens, a leader in civic affairs and a worker and builder in all that the words imply. It can be truly said of him that he had no equal in Lansing, and few superiors in the county, when it came to doing good for his fellow men. There are many of his fellows who can point to the good things "Jim" Conway did for them out of the goodness of that big loveable heart. But he has passed, and his passing has left a void in the hearts of his friends which time alone can soften, but never completely eradicate.

He was one of God's noblemen, having his faults like all of the human race, but ever kindly, ever generous and with the love for his fellows ever uppermost in his mind.

Those who knew him best loved him the most. His cheery greeting was like a benediction and his passing reminds one of the fading away of a sturdy tree, which has withstood the storms and ravages of time, shedding its magnificence here on earth for all mankind and finally passing out with its work accomplished.

In the loss of this loyal friend and comrade, the MIRROR feels as deep a grief as though this kindly friend was one of our own.

He was a respected member of the bar, successful in his law business and possessed splendid business qualifications.

Funeral services were held from the Catholic church this Friday Morning. The business houses were closed this morning, out of respect for the deceased, a large number of citizens marching to the church in a body to pay their last respects to their friend and townsman.

James Patrick Conway was born at Portage, Wyoming county, New York, on January 3, 1861, within slingshot range of the then highest railroad bridge in the world, which spanned the Genesee river near the first of its triple precipices, which tumble over three falls. Though young when last the sound of the rushing waters echoed in his ears, he always loved the sound of dashing waters and the wildest rushing of the waves, undoubtedly inherited from the surroundings of his birthplace.

In October, 1862 he moved with his parents to Meadville, Pennsylvania, and in September, 1864, to Lansing, Iowa, where his father, Neal Cornelius Conway, and his mother, Ellen Conway, (whose maiden name was not changed by marriage) lived the remainder of their lives. Both of his parents were born near Bangor, County Mayo, Ireland, his father on May 1, 1810, and his mother on September, 29, 1821.

His father and mother celebrated their golden wedding anniversary October 28, 1889, when all the family assembled--their last meeting. They would have celebrated their sixtieth anniversary but for the illness of his father. His father died December 8, 1899, at the age of eighty-nine years. His mother died March 6, 1905, at the age of eighty-four years. They raised a family of twelve children, five of whom survived them. A daughter, Mrs. Ryder, who thereafter with her two sons moved to a claim near Chinook, Montana, was murdered in daylight by being shot through a window in her home by a vagabond trapper on May 8, 1912. Another daughter is Mrs. Ellen Marvin, of Zumbrota, Minnesota, J. W. Conway is editor of the Champion, of Norton, Kansas. D. M. Conway is of the same place and J. P Conway of Lansing.

J. P. Conway attributed his education to his mother, who taught him his letters from their old stove No. 8, made by G. F. Filly, of St. Louis, Mo., which practically contained all letters of the alphabet. During the winter months he attended the rural school of his district and in summer operated the farm, and later attended Professor Lauren's Seminary at Waukon and at the age of seventeen commenced teaching school at Barber's Mills, Minn. In the winter thereafter he continued teaching at the Four Mile House, Eitzen, Van Cooley, Village Creek, Lansing, Calhoun, and as principal of the New Albin schools until 1891, when he entered the law department of the University of the State of Wisconsin at Madison, where he graduated in June, 1893 as Bachelor of Laws. The latter part of June, 1893, after visiting the World's Fair at Chicago, he arrived home and before he could salute his parents was employed and engaged in a law suit at the city hall, and he said from th at moment he had plenty of legal work to do. He was city solicitor for eight years and at the city election held on March 18, 1913, was without opposition elected mayor of the city of Lansing.

When the Peoples State Bank was organized in 1911 he could have had any office he desired, but would not accept anything but that of director. He has been a lifelong democrat, tolerant in his views with the good of every party, and often has been heard to express himself of the good deeds and acts which they and their leaders have done. He never had political ambitions. He was born and raised a good Catholic.

J. P. Conway was married to Ellenn McCafferty at Lansing on May 20, 1890. She was the youngest daughter of Anthony and Mary McCaffrerty, both born in County Donegal, Ireland, and who for many years lived at the Four Mile House, where many a weary traveler found rest, refreshment and shelter in the early '60's when grain was hauled to Lansing from Decorah and other towns.

Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Conway, a daughter on August 4, 1891, who after a few months of life passed out through the veil of eternity to join the numberless in the Great Beyond, and a son, William James, who was born October 25, 1896.

~Lansing Mirror, March 2, 1917


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