William Donald 'Don' Conley
A Faithful Life of Service. Was a pillar; the cornerstone of faith to his family and community. Don was a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather, a public servant, a leader, and a volunteer. Don led his life by example. He led a life of contemplation and prayer and was the pinnacle of integrity - he always did the right thing, even when it went unnoticed. He adored his wife of 66 years, Janet Conley, and raised a family founded on faith. He served those in need both in his own community and in communities across the globe. The comfort Don found in his salvation allowed him to work confidently and courageously, letting him work to the best of his ability in all things. Don worked from the time he was seven years old until the day he passed from this life. Coming from humble beginnings in Duluth Minnesota, the youngest of eight in his beloved Catholic family, he sought out every opportunity to be educated, to work hard, and to give to others. He was determined to be a servant of Christ with each new day and taught his family to do the same; to use their minds, hearts, and souls in service to our Maker and to others. There was a certain calm that followed Don; when he spoke his family could take comfort knowing that he would provide direction and insight. Don was a lifelong learner and leader. He received his bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Minnesota followed by a post-graduate certification, which aided him throughout his life in dealing assertively with the people around him. He served in the military during the Korean War for two years from 1953-1955. He began his career at Honeywell and immediately began to climb, progressing from Employee Relations at the start of his career, to Director of Employee Relations, to Corporate Manager of Compensation and International Employee Relations, and finally becoming the Vice President of Public Affairs. Along with his work at Honeywell, he poured himself into his local and global communities. He worked with the American Refugee Committee as the Director, President, and CEO. He saw everyone in the world as a neighbor that needed to be loved, travelling all over serving those in need. He also worked with the Sister Kenny Institute as Life Director and Chair, Minneapolis Rotary, United Way, Honeywell Retiree Volunteer Project as Chair of Management Board, Abbott Northwestern on the Board of Directors, National Retiree Volunteer Coalition, and Volunteers of America on the Board of Directors. In recognition of his years of service, he received the "Eleven Who Care" Award from Kare11 in 1997. These many accomplishments barely scratch the surface of the work he dedicated himself to. He also was a member of President Carter's Federal Personal Management task force on Compensation and Benefits. He was the Special Advisor to the Office of Personnel Management in Washington DC. Don's strength and ability to devote himself to so many organizations was reinforced by his faith. When Don was not working and serving his community, he loved playing golf, tennis, card games, and taking brisk daily walks. He was a born athlete and had to be forcibly removed from the tennis court at the age of 90. Aside from competitive sports, he relished the opportunity to laugh and play with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Don was a lover of music and sang in multiple choirs. In everything he did, Don's joy shone through. His smile and laughter was a wonderful compliment to the wisdom he shared with those around him. He is survived by his wife Janet, his brother Raymond, his children, Kevin, Karin (Elroy) Balgaard, and Paul (Corrina), his grandchildren, Nora (Jeff), Madeline, Bethany (Brian), Heather (Dana), Jaron (Lisa), Jesse, Sam, Ben, and Rachel, his great grandchildren Alice, Greta, Hazel, and William, and several nieces, nephews, and extended family. All these people are left with both a beautiful memory of a wonderful man, and a staggering legacy to pursue. He passed away peacefully on March 22, 2019 at 1:35am at North Memorial Hospital at the age of 91. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Bartholomew's Catholic Church, 630 E. Wayzata Blvd. in Wayzata at 10:30am with visitation one hour prior to Mass on Monday, April 1st. A luncheon will follow at 11:30 am and close with interment at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. Memorials preferred to the Volunteers of America - Minnesota and Wisconsin, or another charity of your choice in lieu of flowers. Volunteers of America - Minnesota and Wisconsin: Attn: Mission Advancement, 7625 Metro Boulevard, Edina, MN 55439. Gearty-Delmore 763-553-1411 gearty-delmore.com
Published on March 31, 2019
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