Robert Marr Conway died unexpectedly of an apparent heart attack while sitting at the dinner table at the Four Corners Care Center in Blanding, UT on January 27, 2009. Funeral services were held at the San Juan Mortuary and burial was at the Blanding City Cemetery on January 31, 2009. Robert had been a resident at the nursing home for nearly a year.
Robert - Bob to the family - was a life-long resident of San Juan County. He was born in Bluff, where he lived until the age of 15 when his parents moved the family to Blanding in order for Bob and his sister Clyda to attend high school.
As a youth, Bob spent time working with his father drilling water wells and spent a summer on the Conway family ranch near Craig, CO. Through much of his twenties, Bob worked at the uranium/vanadium mill in Monticello, where it was his job to see that ore passed through the grizzly (grate).
This involved sweeping, shoveling, and breaking up large ore blocks with a sledgehammer. This job ended when Bob had an off-the-job accident and broke his leg.
In his thirties, Bob worked for several years at the Hudspeth Sawmill in Recapture. He cleaned up sawdust and bark on the working floors and on the grounds beneath the floors and machinery. An accident at the mill terminated this job in 1965.
His coat was caught and he was pulled him into machinery; both arms were broken and he sustained extensive upper body injury.
This serious injury ended Bob’ years of employment – he qualified for Social Security disability. Bob spent the next 39 years living in Blanding with his mother, Inez Conway, until she was admitted to the Four Corners Care Center in 2004. She preceded him in death by three years. Bob was a great support to his mother - doing many chores in the yard and house. She in turn cared for his needs.
Bob’s happiest years were no doubt his childhood years in Bluff, where he had loving family support from immediate family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. The few dozen students in the small school (grades 1-8) were all friends. Bob had some good buddies as shown in the accompanying photo (Bob in center of top row).
Bob had some physical and mental handicaps, but was happy and worked hard to develop himself in his youth. He was even a member of the junior varsity basketball team. A high school official commented to Bob’s mother that he worked harder than most students at his schooling.
Bob was a fixture in the Blanding down-town scene for many years as he would make the rounds of the cafes, service stations, and auto parts store. Bobby, as he was known to most folks, would get a soda pop and have good-natured exchanges with his many friends. In his later years, Bob stayed more and more at home, and became reserved and withdrawn.
Bob loved manual labor. He got the mail, mowed the lawns, hoed the weeds, shoveled the snow and gladly joined his brothers anytime they got a project going. It was great to haul a load to the dump and get a Pepsi to drink along the way.
Bob liked to read and for decades looked forward each Wednesday to getting the San Juan Record which he would spend the whole afternoon reading – mostly out loud. Bob’s memory for names and events was amazing. Many a time a family member would turn to him for help in recalling an incident or a name.
Bob is preceded in death by his father Cecil Marr Conway, his mother Inez Nielson Conway and by his grandparents, Oscar Clay and Ophelia Marr Conway and Uriah Albert and Beatrice Perkins Nielson.
He is survived by a sister, Clyda Palmer (Blanding) and by brothers Clay M. Conway (Blanding) and John D. Conway (Tooele), and many nieces and nephews.
Card of thanks
The family extends thanks to Blanding First Ward Bishop Stan Hurst for conducting the funeral and to the Relief Society for help with dinner and flowers. The family dinner was under the direction of a cousin, Patsy Shumway. She was assisted by other cousins and relatives. We are grateful to many friends and relatives for flowers and other contributions. We thank Danny and Patti Palmer, at San Juan Mortuary, for their professional services and for use of the mortuary for the funeral.