2004-11-26

Roscoe's Obituary

Meredith wrote an obituary for Roscoe that occupied 1/6th of the obituary page in the paper.

Roscoe Ronald Conoley Jan. 17, 1925 – Nov. 22, 2004

Roscoe Conoley, age 79, died at his home Monday November 22 after an extended illness.

Roscoe was born on January 17, 1925, in rural Milam County to Francis R. Conoley and Cordelia M. (Beard) Conoley. He was the fifth child of what would be six born to the Conoleys. At the time of his birth and until the last son was born, Roscoe was thought to be the late Conoley child and was nicknamed “Baby” by the family and this is how he would be known from then on.

He was preceded in death by his parents, one sister Nell, two brothers Alexander (Alec) Hamilton and Eugene (Ken) Kenyon, and one son Ronald (Ronnie) Craig Conoley.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years Gladys (Marie) Conoley, three children, son Francis (Frank) Michael Conoley, his wife Pat and daughter Shannon of Mulberry, Florida, daughter Sanna L. Conoley, her partner Elizabeth of Thorndale, Texas, her son Eric Burke and daughter Brianna (Burke) Jones of Austin, Texas, a son Meredith Conoley, his wife Lisa and daughters Jill and Amy of Round Rock, Texas.

He is also survived by his brother, Rufus K. Conoley, his wife Nadine of Houston, and brother Ralph M. Conoley and his wife Helen of Silver Springs, Maryland. The legacy of Roscoe will live on through seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Born from the Great Depression in tough rural conditions, Roscoe was taught the early lessons of hard work, honesty, and determination by his parents and siblings. Though times were tough the family was fortunate to have a unique blend of toughness and good natured spirit to get through the hard times by building a treasure chest of stories work and play to share with the later generations.

As a member of what would become “The Greatest Generation,” Roscoe headed the call of his counter in 1944 and joined the Allied troops in Europe as part of the 101st Cannon Company in France and Germany. Roscoe received the Purple Heart for wounds received during battle in France in 1945.

After the war Roscoe returned to Texas and enrolled at The University of Texas in Austin where he graduated in 1950 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mathematics. It was during this time that he met his wife-to-be, Marie Young, on a blind date. This blind date carried on to marriage on August 30, 1947. The next 57 years were full of joy and challenges and passed all too fast.

Roscoe and Marie returned to Thorndale in 1950 to be closer to Roscoe’s aging parents. Roscoe served as the Rural Letter Mail Carrier for the Thorndale area for 31 years. During this time he was also a bookkeeper of C.A. Forbes and Co.

Roscoe believed in serving the community for the greater good. Never was this more demonstrated than in his efforts with other community leaders to lead the desegregation of the Thorndale school district that culminated in the building of a new High School Complex in 1966. This was a very difficult time for the Community but Roscoe worked with many others to bring this transition through in a peaceful manner not seen elsewhere. Thorndale ISD and the community at large became a model for others to follow.

Upon retirement from the U.S. Postal Service in 1989 Roscoe continued his community involvement by accepting the position of City Manager for Thorndale. Following his belief that good health starts by taking care of “what comes in and goes out” he developed and administered projects to provide a modern sewage treatment facility for Thorndale and secured water rights and improvements to the water transportation network to ensure a long-lasting safe water supply. Roscoe retired from the City of Thorndale in 2000.

Though Roscoe believed in hard work, and you would often find him behind a push mower taking care of his two acre yard, he equally enjoyed having fun and the company of friends and family. He leaves behind a tremendous volume of stories, anecdotes, and sayings that he shared with all who had the great fortune to know him. He loved spending his free time with friends, family, and especially his grandchildren. His local golfing group will sorely miss the times spent on the gold course followed by enjoying Roscoe’s favorite pastime – having a cold beer after a hot round of golf.

The family would like to express their sincere and heartfelt thanks to everyone who stopped by, called, wrote letters, and provided so much comfort and love during this very difficult time. We would extend a special thank you to a group of incredibly caring and wonderful folks at Lone Star Hospice, especially Carol and Jan.

A memorial service conducted by the Rev. Don Elrod will be held a Condar Funeral Home in Taylor, Texas at 2:00 p.m., Saturday November 27th, Honorary pallbearers, Ricky Melde, Floyd Zuehlke Jr., Robert Lindermann, Ted Westerman II, Wynn D. Scruggs, W. E. “Bill” Burke III, Joel Wilkerson. A celebration of Roscoe’s life will follow at the Thorndale Senior Center. In lieu of flowers, Roscoe requested donations to Thorndale Cares, Lone Start Hospice, or the charity of your choice.

2004-11-22

Roscoe Conoley 1925-2004

The sky is gray, cold, damp, and wet. It has been raining for hours. The roads are flooded, the fields are muddy, and the tank is overflowing. We pulled up to the house and see the black hearse in the driveway. Inside two men strugle as they try to move Roscoe from the bed. Brianna rushes by to give him a kiss on the forehead and to tell him goodbye one last time. He is just two months shy of 80 years old.

Just 271 days ago, it was February and everything was going well. Hailey was learning to walk and was recovering from the respiratory problems she had in December and January. On the 25th we learned some very bad news. There was something in Roscoe’s lung. It could be Tuberculoses or a tumor. Roscoe, given the choice between Tuberculoses and lung cancer, hoped for lung cancer.

He was our emergency baby sitter. Whenever Hailey was sick and couldn’t go to daycare, we could make a call, at any hour, and Roscoe would be on his way. He had been watching Hailey and didn’t want to be responsible for giving his great granddaughter Tuberculoses.

Hailey didn’t get Tuberculoses. Roscoe didn’t have it to give it to her. He had lung cancer. Brianna took the news hard. I had to go and pick her up at work that day.

Roscoe was a very active man. He worked in his garden and mowed his enormous yard, with a traditional walk behind lawnmower, each week of the summer until this last one. I tried it only once. It was too much work for me. I had to use the tractor to be as efficient. As the cancer spread, he could no longer be active. He couldn’t pick up Hailey, he couldn’t stand, even sitting became painful.

Hailey loved this man. When she sees someone with gray hair she says papa. When she sees his house she screams papa and wants to go inside. I hope that as she grows older she remembers him and how much he cared for her.

The two men put Roscoe’s body onto the stretcher and push it out the front door. They are hampered as they try to get out the door. They struggle to get around the corner. Once outside, they fight with the muddy ground before finally getting into the hearse.

Godspeed Roscoe we love and will miss you.

2004-11-19

Upon Leaving Outside

Coming inside, Hailey turns her head and says, “Bye-bye outside.”

2004-11-15

End of the Tour

Finally! Over the weekend someone came and removed the catamaran from work’s parking lot.

2004-11-05

Dizzy!

I was sitting at my desk today and Hailey walked up to say move da-da. I didn’t know what she wanted so I moved the chair a little so she could crawl under the desk like she likes to do. But she didn’t want to crawl under the desk. She tugged at my leg and said move da-da.

I got out of the chair and Hailey tried to crawl into the chair. She said up please, so I helped her get in. Now, I knew what she wanted. She sat all the way in the back of the chair and pressed her head against the back. I spun the chair around slowly, one revolution at a time. Each time around I would stop and she would say more, more da-da. So I would spin her around more, when I thought she would be too dizzy, I would stop.

Hailey would turn her head to the side and giggle loudly while moving her head back and forth. She was dizzy and she liked it. After sitting still for a few minutes she would say more da-da again, and away we would go.

2004-11-02

Get Out and Vote!

Today’s the day, if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain later.

I’m such a dork. Yesterday, I was sitting at my computer when my calendar popped up a reminder to “VOTE!” in 16 hours. I think I scheduled that appointment last month some time.

The line at my polling place stretched out the building and down the sidewalk. Last time I voted there might have been 10 people in the building, including the poll workers. The wait was cold and windy. This is the coldest Austin has been this fall.

After about 30 minutes in line a polling worker emerged to make sure everyone in line was at the right place. Turns out someone had been waiting for over an hour at the wrong precinct. She gave a long-winded description of her precinct. Then someone asked her the precinct number. We were in the right place. About 20 minutes later, we were trained on the use of the new “slate” electronic voting machines. It uses an LCD screen and a scroll wheel, no touch screen and no auditable paper trail[1].

About 10 minutes later we were ready to vote. We gave our registration cards and ids to the poll worker. She asked if our address was correct and current. Then she gave our information to the next worker. The next worker looked up our names in the voter roll and had us sign the roll. We were given a green slip of paper with the word “QUALIFIED.” We gave the slip of paper to another man referred to as the “JVC.”

The JVC operated a console connected to the voting slates. He printed out a receipt with a control number on it. You went to the next available receipt and selected you language and then entered your control number. You used the scroll wheel to select you candidates. After a review, you pressed the red “Cast Ballot” button.

I don’t think Brianna wanted to stand in the cold wind for over an hour to cast her vote, but I made her. I know it is too hard to make yourself do it later. We kept each other company and had fun. When we were finished she called her friends to make them go vote as well.

The polling lady said the line at the polling place was unexpected. She normally only has three or four people at a time. I don’t know if the line is due to increased participation or due to the new technology.

[1] An auditable paper trail? Technology is great and can make counting the votes faster, but software can have bugs, and computers can be hacked. Without a paper trail there is no way to perform a manual recount and no way to know that the database recorded my vote for Candidate A and didn’t just show me on screen that I voted for Candidate A.