IN MEMORIAM: Robert N. Conley Jr., 67;
Returned From Navy Career To Unadilla
UNADILLA – Robert N. Conley Jr., 67, who returned to Unadilla after 22 years in the Navy, passed away unexpectedly in his home in Unadilla on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018.
Bobby was born on May 20, 1951, in Clarksburg, W.Va., to the late Eleanor and Robert N. Conley Sr., both of whom were longtime residents of Unadilla before their passing.
Bobby grew up in Unadilla and graduated from Unatego High School in 1971, after which he attended Delhi Community College.
Following college, he enlisted with the Navy in 1974 and spent 22 years as a corpsman, rising to the rank of chief. He served on the USS Platte and the USS Preble and was stationed across the world on land and sea, getting to see a wide variety of countries and people (of which he always brought back mementos and stories to share with friends and family).
Bobby saw active duty in the Red Sea during the Persian Gulf War, and his family fondly remembers being in Norfolk to see him off on deployment as well as for the celebration when the USS Preble, “The Little Ship That Did,” returned home.
After leaving the US Navy, Bobby returned to Unadilla, working at Amphenol in Sidney and taking care of both parents in their declining years.
Throughout his life, Bobby was known by a variety of nicknames. To family, he was simply Bobby or Bob, while those in Unadilla might only know him as Smog. To his four nephews, he earned the nickname “Uncle Ducky” by imitating Donald Duck with assorted sounds to entertain them when they were young. To servicemen and shipmates, he was simply referred to as Doc.
In his later life, he very well might have earned the nickname “Mountain Man” or “the mountain man walking up the hill” as he grew out both his beard and hair and was often seen walking in and out of town – maybe this was his way honoring the West Virginia heritage of the family.
Regardless of what name people chose or knew him by, Bobby was a kind-hearted yet independent soul who would give you the shirt off his back if he thought it would help. He worked in Unadilla’s Food Pantry for several years and took a small measure of contentment in sending donations to families in need, though he did so anonymously as was his humble nature.
In his later years, Bobby became a passionate student of the Bible, reading scripture to deepen and better understand his relationship with God. Bobby was also an ardent and lifelong Pittsburgh Pirates fan, something he was born into: the Pirates were the favorite team of both of his grandfathers, and one of them tried out for and made the Pirates’ team in the early 1900s (though he opted for college instead).
Bobby is survived by; his brother, Bart Conley, and his wife, Dawn, and their three sons: Jake (and his wife Nicole), Luke, and Josh (and his wife Erin); his sister, Holly Conley Renegar, and her husband, Bob, and their son, Rob (and his wife Chrissy). He is also survived by a great many friends and colleagues that are too numerous to count but that the family would like to express their appreciation and gratitude for their loving care and concern for Bobby in the last years of his life.
A Memorial Service with military honors will be held at 3PM on Saturday, September 15th, 2018 at Westcott-Madden Funeral Home 123 Main Street in Unadilla. A private interment will be held separately at the family plot at Evergreen Cemetery in Unadilla. In lieu of flowers, donation in Bobby’s memory can be made to either the Unadilla Community Food Pantry (172 Main Street, Unadilla, NY 13849) or to AMVets.org (American Veterans). Online condolences may be made at: www.wmaddenfh.com.