Service to community important to Latrobe woman
Shirley Conway was neither born nor raised in Latrobe, but friends and family recall her as the epitome of a community-minded native daughter.
Conway, 82, passed away Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 after a battle with dementia.
“She liked being around people and making a difference,” her daughter, Helene Conway-Long, said, citing a lengthy list of social and civic clubs where her mother was a member.
“It wasn't about being busy, it was about service,” she said.
Conway served as former president of the Latrobe Business and Professional Women's Association and was a member of the Latrobe Century Club and the Welcome Wagon.
Conway-Long said members of the Latrobe Settler's Club were among her mother's first friendships when she attended Seton Hill College after moving to Westmoreland County from Maryland.
“They were all couples and they would go out together and do things,” Conway-Long said. “That club is still active today. Her friends would come and pick her up and go.”
A 30-year-employee with Commercial National Bank and Trust, Conway served as manager of the Lincoln Road office and senior auditor.
Despite her retirement in 1998, Conway never really slowed down.
“It was hard for me to ever keep up with her,” Conway-Long laughed, saying that her mother walked two to three miles daily. “Even at the end, she was still walking a mile a day.”
In her scant free time, Conway learned to paint and discovered a talent for tole painting.
“She was the most beautiful painter and never knew it until she retired,” Conway-Long said.
Perhaps what fueled Conway most was her advocacy for the Alzheimer's Association of Westmoreland County, where she served as a board member.
Conway cared for her husband, Robert, during his fight with Alzheimer's disease.
“It really speaks to her character that when my father was diagnosed in his early 50s, she very much wanted to try to increase the science around that disease,” Conway-Long said.
Conway enrolled her husband in a study at Falk clinic at the University of Pittsburgh and worked to increase awareness and raise money for research.
“The irony, or the sadness, is that she succumbed to the same disease that she fought so hard against,” Conway-Long said.
Conway is survived by three children, Michael F. Conway of Waxhaw, N.C., Helene Conway-Long of Latrobe and John R. Conway of Greensburg; five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Friends will be received from 3 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the John J. Lopatich Funeral Home, 601 Weldon St., Latrobe. A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Bethany United Methodist Church, with the Rev. Les Hutchins Jr. officiating. Interment will follow in St. Rose Roman Catholic Cemetery, Latrobe.
Memorial contributions are being accepted to Bethany United Methodist Church, 2415 Laveen St., Latrobe, PA 15650.