Walter ‘Jack’ Conway, age 86, of St. James passed away on Tuesday, March 05, 2019 at Living Meadows at Luther in Madelia.
Mass of Christian burial will be 10:30am, Monday, March 11, 2019 at St. James Catholic Church in St. James with Father Timothy Hall as Celebrant.
Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery in St. James with full military honors provided by the St. James Veterans Honor Guard.
Visitation will be at Sturm Funeral Home in St. James on Sunday from 4-8pm with a Vigil service at 7:30pm, visitation will continue at the church one hours before services on Monday.
Jack was born in Watertown, SD to Walter and Sarah Conway. He attended his first 4 years of school at Immaculate Conception School in Watertown before his family moved to Oldham, SD. Jack graduated from Oldham High School in 1950 and upon graduation enlisted in the US Army. Jack served overseas during the Korean War from 1952-1953. After being honorably discharged from the army he entered General Beadle State College, now known as Dakota State University, in Madison, SD and graduated in 1958 with a B.S. degree in Education.
After graduation from General Beadle Jack began a 38-year career serving at all levels in public school districts in South Dakota and Minnesota. He was a classroom English and Social Studies teacher for 6 years at Franklin, SD and DeSmet, SD. During this time Jack continued his education and eventually received a Masters of Education from South Dakota State University and began a long career as a public-school administrator starting in Chokio, MN. Jack also served as the high school principal in LeCenter, MN and Waseca, MN. Upon receiving a school administrators Specialist degree from Minnesota State University-Mankato Jack took on the role of managing school districts as the Superintendent of Schools in Clinton-Graceville, MN followed by St. James, MN public schools. Jack retired in 1995.
During his time as an educator Jack influenced thousands of students and professional educators in all the communities in which he served. During his professional career Jack also participated in many professional organizations including: Bush Public Schools Fellowship program, Chairman of Region 2 High School League, Board of Directors of the MN Association of School Administrators, Chairperson of North Central Validation Teams.
Upon retirement in 1995 Jack began the second phase of his community involvement by being active in St. James Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, VFW and American Legion, St. James Opera House Board of Directors, Railroad Days, Knights of Columbus and the St. James Catholic Church. His years of service ultimately lead to receiving the Services to Mankind award presented by the Sertoma Club in 2008.
While Jack thoroughly enjoyed and loved his many years of service as an educator and active community member his one true love in life was his wife of 62 years Phyllis. Jack and Phyllis were introduced on a blind date in 1955 and married a year later on August 13, 1956. Jack and Phyllis had three sons, John, Mike and Pat and have 12 grandchildren. One of Jack’s greatest legacies to his family and friends was the example he showed while tenderly caring for Phyllis during her final years as she battled Alzheimer’s. Loving, dedicated, tender, and heartfelt are just a few of the words to describe the relationship between Jack and Phyllis. While Jack will be greatly missed by many we are all comforted by the knowledge that he and Phyllis are now together forever in paradise.