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A place to share stories, pictures and video about the life and times of Walter Conley.

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37 Responses

  1. When my grandparents were dating, my grandmother climbed a tree while on a picnic and got herself stuck in the tree. My GP said he would get her down if she agreed to marry him. She said she knew she had to say yes, because she needed someone to keep her out of trouble.

    Jen Neitzel

  2. I remember my grandparents each sitting at one end of the dinner table. GP would be gazing at grandma lovingly and saying how wonderful and beautiful she was. She would make horrified faces and say,”Old man, when was the last time you had your eyes examined? I am an old lady, stop saying that!” He never did stop.

    Jen Neitzel

  3. When I was a girl my grandmother had a special doll house just for me at their home. My grandfather wired the entire doll house with tiny little lights and used painted plastic bottle caps to hold the lights. Each one was painstakingly mounted on tiny tables or to the ceiling of the doll house. All wired to a central switch.

    Jen Neitzel

  4. GP ran with his horses into his eighties. He said they kept him young.

    Jen Neitzel

  5. GP loved to tell ridiculous stories that you knew weren’t true, just to make the day more interesting. We called them “grandpa stories.” Most of the time we would just play along to see what he would say next.

    Jen Neitzel

  6. My grandparents always lived in Oregon since before I was born. When I was young we lived in Indiana. Grandma would send letters full of stories of their lives, but they were old so they didn’t have a lot going on, so Gram used to send us long letters with soap opera updates. GP always signed the cards to, “Love G.P.” A man of few words.

    Jen Neitzel

  7. GP always used to wear this beat up straw hat. He had tons of other hats, but liked that old one. When we moved back to Oregon he would sometimes walk down the lane and meet my school bus at the road. All the kids on the bus loved him. Commenting on how cute he was. Man, was he cute. Smiling, waving, flannel shirt, suspenders, faded jeans and that old straw hat. The gentleman farmer.

  8. GP loved to add, “so ha ha.” at the end of his sentences. It was usually totally out of context. “I’m going to feed the horses, so ha ha.” He was a funny old man.

    Jen Neitzel

  9. GP told stories about his mother, my great grandmother who taught violin lessons. She had paying students, but after her paid lessons she taught the black kids for free. She said music transports people and black kids in the South needed that. She also let them use the front door of her house, which was scandalous in those times, but she was highly respected, so no one messed with her.

    Jen Neitzel

  10. Dad never let his disabilities get him down. When I helped him out of bed, he always greeted me with twinkling eyes and big smile.

    John ConleyJune 4, 2009 @ 9:33 am
  11. I think you should know… that my dad always spoke sooooo highly of Walter — saying he was an “incomparable human being” — and that there was “nobody like Walter”. My dad’s respect, admiration, and affection for Walt, ran deep… for more than 50 years. We should all be so fortunate, to have a friendship like that.

    Ellen Horstman (daughter of Floyd Smith – a friend of Walt’s)

    Ellen HorstmanJune 9, 2009 @ 2:27 pm
  12. In his last years, when Dad was at a restaurant or visiting somebody and he felt it was time to leave, he just got up and headed for the door. I had to scramble some times to keep up.

    John ConleyJune 9, 2009 @ 3:55 pm
  13. I never heard Dad say an unkind word about anybody, or make any prejudiced remark. I think he made his own judgments on the evidence, without paying attention to the conventional wisdom, and I hope I learned from him to do the same.

    John ConleyJune 9, 2009 @ 3:59 pm
  14. My brother Brock and I used to work with Walt every Saturday when we were kids. We started with stall cleaning, moved to bucking hay, and eventually to property repair as we got older. No matter how badly one of us would screw up, Walt always would have a smile on his face. Would have loved to know what was running through his brain during those times 😉

    Brett McFarlaneJune 12, 2009 @ 5:26 pm
  15. I am not sure I believe in reincarnation, but if there is such a thing and I need to come back to earth, I want to come back as one of Walt’s horses. They are loved and treated as well as anything!

    Jeff GibbsJune 13, 2009 @ 9:42 am
  16. Walt had near infinite patience with co-workers, and spent many hours explaining the basics of water treatment chemistry to those who didn’t have the training in that subject.

    Arnie MartinJune 15, 2009 @ 1:00 pm
  17. Over the course of my working life, when layoffs loomed, several people suggested that they might quit, or find other employment, so others could
    continue working, but Walt was the only one who actually retired to allow the company to keep some co-workers employed.

    Arnie MartinJune 15, 2009 @ 1:02 pm
  18. In the late 70’s or early 80’s Walt’s property had over-mature trees, and
    rather than just logging the property, he paid a logger to selectively cut trees, and remove them in an environmentally sensitive manner. The cost
    of this logging practice more than ate up the profits from the cut trees, but Walt knew, long before others also used this method, that it was the right
    thing to do.

    Arnie MartinJune 15, 2009 @ 1:05 pm
  19. Even after retiring, Walt welcomed us out to his place, and, if we were careful not to damage the plants or let the horses out, allowed us to wander his forest in search of uncommon birds and animals.

    Arnie MartinJune 15, 2009 @ 1:06 pm
  20. He and Alice made us feel that we were friends, not just former co-workers.

    Arnie MartinJune 15, 2009 @ 1:06 pm
  21. Thank you and your family for allowing us old co-workers to remember our “Unforgettable Character”: Walt Conley.

    Arnie MartinJune 15, 2009 @ 1:07 pm
  22. Walt Conley, my dad, was a hero and a horseman.
    Horseman. He loved horses and the first time I ever say him cry was when MY STAR, his lovely Morgan, died. (The next time I saw him cry was when Mom was dying and we all were watching The Miracle of the White Stallions.) He raised kind, gentle, sound Morgan horses. They were a joy, a radiance, like a prayer.
    God’s blessings,
    Nancy Conley Neitzel

    John ConleyJune 17, 2009 @ 12:59 pm
  23. I had the joy of being Walts caregiver the last 2yrs of his life. He truly was a Gentleman in every since of the word. Always a twinkle in his eyes. Avery Special man. I have been the better for knowing him.

    Nancy ReidJune 18, 2009 @ 4:01 pm
  24. Joe Millen writes,

    Certainly as a distinguished leader and inventor of one of the most important water processors of the 21st century, he will be noted and missed.

    John ConleyJune 18, 2009 @ 5:35 pm
  25. I looked forward to my visit each Sunday with Walt as my son cleaned The Colonel’s stall. In the short time I knew Walt it was clear that he was a very special man. Walt will always hold a place in my heart.

    Cindy CrawfordJune 19, 2009 @ 3:52 pm
  26. We moved in with my grandparents when I was 6 months old, so as a child I called Grandpa “grandpa-daddy”. When my sister said he wasn’t my daddy I got very upset and she got in trouble with my mom.

    Amy NeitzelJuly 3, 2009 @ 11:32 am
  27. When grandpa would go to visit his family in Tennessee and they asked about the family, he would pull out pictures of the horses. They would politely look through them and then ask to see pictures of the kids.

    Amy NeitzelJuly 3, 2009 @ 11:34 am
  28. Walt was always a gentleman, a good horseman, and a world famous water engineer. I shall always remember him as an excellent neighbor.

    John BerryJuly 3, 2009 @ 11:35 am
  29. Walt was my dad’s neighbor and every time I went to Dale & Elaine’s house we would go down and get his mail for him. He was a very nice and compassionate man. I will remember him forever. I will love him and have him in my heart. With love for him.

    Brighton McFarlaneJuly 3, 2009 @ 11:37 am
  30. Grandpa called my sister and I “cutie-pie” and his sons “honey”. I have always assumed this stems from his upbringing and that he was called “June-bug” (nickname from Junior) by his family in Tennessee.

    Amy NeitzelJuly 3, 2009 @ 11:39 am
  31. Such a “gentleman” was Walt. Always quiet never complaining. He was a peaceful man and seemed very content. He so enjoyed sitting in his red wing-back chair, looking out over his property, Walt’s own paradise. He was a man of few words and a great listener. He loved his family and friends.

    Nancy ReidJuly 3, 2009 @ 11:41 am
  32. One of my favorite moments was writing Walt’s life memories down. At Christmas of 2007 he gave his family his life story. Now I don’t know if all the facts were complete as Walt was 89 when we wrote it down, but it was so special and allowed me a glimpse of his life. He was very special and I am a better person having known Walt. His family is dear and also special.

    Nancy ReidJuly 3, 2009 @ 11:43 am
  33. Walt always brought out the best in those around him. He always had a smile and a twinkle in his eyes.

    We will remember his positive spirit & we are grateful to have known him and his wonderful family.

    Margaret HallockJuly 3, 2009 @ 11:45 am
  34. Walt was perhaps the most cheerful person we have ever known. After his stroke a few years ago left him in a nursing home to recuperate, he had pictures of his last horse, Colonel, taped to his walls to keep him company. We were with John when he told Walt that Colonel had suddenly died. “Well, it can’t be helped,” Walt said. He didn’t seem to give Colonel’s death another thought. Walt’s cheerfulness and good nature were major factors in his long and happy life.

    DavidJuly 3, 2009 @ 11:49 am
  35. One of my favorite stories that Grandpa would tell was from his childhood. When he was about 10 years old he got a chemistry set and somehow set fire to the family barn (although according to his mom it was the entire town).

    Amy NeitzelJuly 3, 2009 @ 11:51 am
  36. My Dad had to have an FBI background check when he was on the Manhattan Project during WW 2. My Dad’s given name was Walter Robertson Conley, Jr., but when the FBI looked at his birth certificate, it said “Frank Conley”. The FBI was sure that they had found a mole! The doctor that had completed his birth certificate was still alive, so they asked him to explain. He said that he really liked the name Frank, so that’s what he put on the birth certificate. After Dad obtained several sworn affidavits from local people that he was indeed Walter Conley Jr., he passed the FBI background check.

    Jim ConleyJuly 14, 2009 @ 1:51 pm
  37. The Conleys, Walt and Alice, were my ideal of a married couple when I was in high school and beyond. I loved to drive up their lane to see Nancy and her fun-loving parents. The love of place and family was inspiring.

    Ann Knoll ChenhallJuly 16, 2009 @ 9:24 pm

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