Life Story for
Richard Whiting Conley
1926 - 2015
Long time Wood River Valley resident Richard Conley passed away in his Sun Valley home on July 19, 2015. He is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Shirley Marion; children Ed, Greg, Jean, and Karen; grandchildren Jordan and her husband Justin, Shea, Dani, Jake, Dakoda, Maraina, and McGuire; and sister Ann.
Richard was born in San Diego on July 10, 1926. During his 89 years, he served his country in World War II and the Korean War, ran a cattle ranch, piloted his Piper Cub, created successful businesses, captained his own boat on adventures in the San Juan Islands, was on the National Ski Patrol in California, hiked the Sawtooth Mountains, skied Baldy, wrote stories, golfed, played tennis, boogie boarded, and played the ukulele.
Raised as a Navy “brat” on dozens of bases in the U.S. and Panama, Richard entered the Navy himself in 1944 upon turning 18. He served in World War II on a ship as a Navy Corpsman and later transferred to the Marines. After the war, he attended Georgetown University and UCLA before graduating from the University of California, Davis.
While at UC Davis he was a member of the ROTC. After graduating in 1950 Richard was called into the Army as a second lieutenant in the infantry. Short on cash, he heard paratroopers made more money so he started jumping out of airplanes. He served in Korea during the heavy fighting as a platoon leader in the Third Division.
Returning home, Richard bought a herd of cattle and started ranching in Nevada. After two exciting years of running a one-man operation, he pulled up stakes and headed for San Francisco. In 1957 he married Shirley Marion. They had four children and settled in Palo Alto for a quarter century. In 1966, at age 40, he started Richard Conley, Inc. and built a successful company that included such diverse ventures as advertising, public relations, fruit ranches and real estate.
In 1987, Richard and Shirley Marion moved permanently to Sun Valley, Idaho. Never one to stay retired long, Richard immediately began a whole new adventure in the Wood River Valley. With his son Greg he owned and ran the former Burger Haus restaurant on Main Street in Ketchum for more than 10 years. As president of the Northwood association he helped plant the hundreds of beautiful trees that now line Saddle Road and Northwood. He and Shirley Marion established wonderful friendships in the Valley and spent decades skiing, hiking, camping and playing tennis and golf with family and friends. At age 80, Richard bought a boat in Bellingham, Washington and spent several summers captaining family cruises throughout the San Juan Islands and Strait of Georgia. Active all his life, Richard spent this June golfing and testing the surf in Maui.
Richard, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, father-in-law, community leader and friend, will be fondly remembered and forever honored for a life well lived.