Wayne E. Conley, long time Alaskan and ardent fisherman, passed away on Jan. 9, 2016, from COPD (Chronic Pulmonary Disease) in Rainier, Wash., at age 82, surrounded by family.
He was born on March 8, 1933, to Gladys Fellows and Sam Herringer in Rochester, Minn.
In 1960, the Air Force reassigned him to Fairbanks, Alaska. He lived in various locations, including: Anchorage, Fairbanks, Clam Gulch, Homer and Delta Junction, Alaska.
While living in Delta Junction, dad operated a small guide service on the Clearwater River called Silver Fox charters. His favorite pastime was catching a grayling on a fly rod. Dad was also a very talented taxidermist: he specialized in mounting moose, caribou and deer antlers. He passed this trait on to his daughter, Carolinda. Dad was pretty much a jack of all trades. He was a member of the Teamsters Union. He worked as a carpenter on construction jobs, was a Pipe fitter on the North Slope and once owned and operated a plumbing business in Gainesville, Fla. Dad enjoyed hunting and often had his children in tow. His number one rule was: if we shoot it, we eat it. Nothing goes to waste. He kept his freezer full of moose, caribou and fish, with plenty to share. Dad enjoyed playing horseshoes and pool. He won a few tournaments in his days. He was a member of the Moose and Elks clubs along with the American Legion. He frequently took his children to the summer picnics they held. Dad was a tall handsome man who loved to dance and compliment the ladies with his one liner, ” Pretty As You Are .”
He was a man of many tales and experiences. He sported a gold chain about his neck that had three grizzly bear claws attached – a reminder of who won that battle. Although he lived most of his life on the edge, and even had a few run ins with the law, in the end he accepted Jesus into his heart. It gives our family great comfort to know that he made it into the gates of Heaven. He loved his family, whether biological or not. He is preceded in death by his mother and father. He leaves behind his children, Curtis Conley, Wayne Jr., Linda Kay Conley, Carin Quigley, Marion Conley and Carolinda Wright; along with his children by choice, Danielle Young and her daughter Alison, and Evonne, Patty and Susie Beavers. He leaves behind his grandchildren, Erika Lopeztello Jones, Joelene Conley, Amanda Vanderbilt, Raymond and Rachel Wadley, Sam Conley and Mike and Kirsten Selby. He leaves behind his great-grandchildren, Donovan Conley, whom he spent much time with, Tatiana and Alexa Interno, Sofia Jones, Mikayla Pender, Brooke and Jayden Munger and Kayelyn, Kira, Lorelei and Ronan Wadley.
Dad will be dearly missed by those who knew and loved him. His ashes will be cast into the Clearwater River this summer. Condolences can be mailed to Carolinda Wright, P.O. Box 670384, Chugiak, AK 99567.