Obituary: Father Robert Conway CPPS
Fr. Robert Conway, C.PP.S., 93, died on December 8, 2018, in the infirmary at St. Charles Center in Carthagena, Ohio, where he made his home. He had been in failing health.
Fr. Conway was born on September 19, 1925, in Detroit, to Harold and Marie (Oberle) Conway. He later moved with his family to Roseville, Mich. He entered the Society in 1941 at Brunnerdale, the Congregation’s minor seminary outside of Canton, Ohio. On December 19, 1953, he was ordained to the priesthood at Mount St. Marys Seminary, Cincinnati.
Fr. Conway has served as a pastor, chaplain, educator, and missionary in Latin America during his 65 years as a priest.
After his ordination he served at Precious Blood Church in Fort Wayne, Ind., and Corpus Christi Church in Dayton.
In 1961, he traveled to Chile to minister in the C.PP.S. mission there. In Chile, he was active in parish ministry, ministered as a hospital chaplain, and was chaplain of the novitiate of the C.PP.S. sisters of Dayton, Ohio, who were also serving there. He served in urban Santiago as well as rural areas.
Fr. Conway returned to the U.S. in 1974 to attend graduate school. He received his Ph.D. from Loyola University in 1980. He was then appointed instructor and later associate professor at Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, Ind., which is sponsored by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. He taught at the college for nine years.
Fr. Conway’s later ministries included Hispanic ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in East Chicago, Ind.; visiting professor of Latin American studies at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind.; chaplain of a nursing home in Orlando; parochial vicar of Sacred Heart Parish in Sedalia, Mo.; chaplain to the C.PP.S. sisters in Dayton; and chaplain of St. Anne’s Home in Columbia, Pa.
Fr. Conway first moved to St. Charles in 1995. He returned to education ministry in 2003 when he became chaplain of Ave Maria College in Ypsilanti, Mich. In 2007, he was named chaplain and an adjunct faculty member of Ave Maria University’s Latin American campus in San Marcos, Nicaragua.
In addition to his other duties, Fr. Conway raised funds for the Catholic organizations. From 1996 to 2008, at weekend Masses in 107 U.S. dioceses, he preached on behalf of the Catholic organizations Food for the Poor, Christian Foundation for Children and Aging, and Cross Catholic Outreach. He returned to St. Charles in 2008, and spent the rest of his years there.
He is survived by a sister, Joan Lee, of Novi, Mich.; a brother, John (Loretta) Conway, Caledonia, Mich.; two brothers-in-law, James McClory, Royal Oak, Mich., and Stan Mullins, Eastpointe, Mich.; a sister-in-law, Mary Conway, San Diego; and numerous nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
He was preceded in death by two sisters, Ann McClory and Mary Mullins; and two brothers, Joseph Conway and Fr. Thomas Conway, C.PP.S.; and a brother-in-law, Marion Lee.
Fr. Conway was “a faithful and holy priest. In his ministry, he continued to pour himself out, preaching on behalf of the missions later in life,” said his nephew, Msgr. Robert McClory. “He was always supportive of his nieces and nephews. As children, we were fascinated by the fact that he was a missionary in Chile for 14 years. We received letters and visits from him; his desire to serve the missions, wherever he was called, inspired us all.”
Fr. Conway was a tireless intellectual. He continued to read and write, researched his family’s history and kept apprised of current events in his later years. When asked shortly before his death to reflect on his 65 years as a priest, Fr. Conway said that he treasured the goodness of the people to whom he had ministered.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 2 p.m. on Friday, December 14, at St. Charles Center. Fr. Jeffrey Kirch, C.PP.S., will preside, with Msgr. Robert McClory, Fr. Conway’s nephew, as homilist. Burial will follow in the Community cemetery.
Calling hours at St. Charles will be held on Thursday, December 13, from 1-5 and 7-9 p.m. with a prayer service at 7 p.m.
Memorial donations may be made to the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Cincinnati Province.