Daniel J. Conway
( January 28, 1939 - May 20, 2018 )
Daniel J. Conway, elite runner, ukulele strummer, teacher and coach, passed away Sunday, May 20, 2018 at Solvay Hospice House in Duluth, four months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Born in Superior, WI on January 28, 1939 to Daniel Sr. and Kathrine, Dan attended Superior Cathedral High where he played basketball and football. At Superior State Teachers’ College, now UWS, he was a halfback on the football team, as well as a sprinter on the track team.
A few years after college, Dan settled in Chetek, WI, where he spent 28 fulfilling years teaching Physical Education and coaching, most notably cross-country.
1976 marked a turning-point in Dan’s life when he accepted a teacher exchange position in England. There, he met more serious runners and began training in earnest.
Upon returning to the States, Dan committed himself to training year-round and eventually reached the top of the Masters running heap, winning the World Championships in Perpignon, France in 1983. He dedicated the race to his Uncle Eddie who died in World War II.
Dan set many American and World master’s running records and won the Masters division at Grandma’s four times. He was named to multiple Halls of Fame, and many of his records still stand today.
Over the course of his long teaching and coaching career, which concluded in Superior in 2012, Dan helped generations of students discover and explore their own innate gifts, in running and life. He cared deeply about all of his students and athletes, State Champions to the stragglers at the back of the proverbial pack.
Though his illness came as a shock to all of his friends who thought he would still be setting American records at 100, Dan, true character, took it in stride, often recalling the words of his favorite actor – Gene Kelly, “Dignity, always dignity.”
In his last months, Dan penned a memoir, “Carry On Regardless,” which nicely sums up his attitude about life and overcoming obstacles. In his final weeks, he personally signed hundreds of copies of his book with the advice, “COR! Dan Conway.”
Dan is preceded in death by his parents; and sister, Helen “Hooter” (Gibbs) Hawkins.
He is survived by his nieces, Trish Hawkins, Mary Kay Runte, and Paula Sellers, all of Arizona, his cousins, John, Margaret and Julie Soderberg, and his loving “Sparring Partner,” Lynne Skemp Hoff of Superior, as well as hundreds of friends, former students, and a host of friendly running rivals across the globe.
Memorials may be made in Dan’s name to The Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Superior (710 Catlin Ave, Superior, W 54880) or Solvay Hospice House (801 Bayliss St., Duluth, MN 55811)
Visitation will be held at 5:00 PM, Wednesday, May 30, 2018 in the Downs-LeSage Funeral Home, 1304 Hammond Avenue, Superior, WI. Visitation will resume at 10:00 AM, Thursday, May 31, 2018, at Cathedral of Christ the King Catholic Church, 1410 Baxter Avenue, Superior, and will continue until the 11:00 AM funeral service with Rev. Fr. Andrew Ricci as officiant.
Burial will be in St. Francis Cemetery.
The Downs-LeSage Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. To leave a condolence or sign the guestbook, please visit our websit.