Henry Lee Conway Jr. ’51

Henry Lee Conway Jr. ’51 died on August 1, 2018, in Silver Springs, Maryland.

(The following was submitted by the family):

Henry Lee “Monk” Conway Jr. ’51 died peacefully on August 1, 2018, in Silver Springs, Maryland, at the age of 89 from complications related to Alzheimer’s disease. Born on March 16, 1929, in Baltimore, Maryland, Henry attended Randolph Macon Military Academy in Front Royal, Virginia, graduating first in his class. At Bowdoin he majored in history, minoring in the classics and was a top football player on the teams coached by the legendary Adam Walsh, a star on the Notre Dame teams of Knute Rockne. His fraternity was Sigma Nu.

Henry held very fond memories of Bowdoin and the time he spent in Maine, despite the sharp contrasts between his Southern heritage and Northern sentiment. One experience in particular stood out that would personify this difference. Henry often recited the tale of his initiation into his fraternity when during one evening’s “line up” he was called out. “Henry Conway—step forward! You’re from the South! So tell us. What’s the name of Robert E. Lee’s…horse!”

While the fraternity brothers thought they had asked him a question sure to stump him (and thus warrant their belittlement), little did they know that in the South, in many ways, Lee’s horse stood as a symbol of the South. “Traveler,” Henry responded, in such a manner-of-fact way that his reply was met with utter disbelief by the audience.

After graduating from Bowdoin, Henry joined the United States Marine Corps and deployed for combat during the Korean War after basic training in Paris Island, South Carolina. In October 1952 during particularly horrendous fighting, Chinese forces pounded his position on the front line with a seemingly endless artillery barrage prior to launching a ferocious ground assault. In the hand-to-hand carnage that followed the platoon under his command suffered extremely high casualties. Henry was badly wounded in a grenade explosion and taken prisoner of war, his family erroneously notified that he was missing and presumed killed in action. He was released in one of the last prisoner exchanges of the war. Those memories would haunt him the remainder of his life.

Subsequent to his service in the Marines, Henry would go on to earn a law degree at the University of Maryland and worked in private practice for his entire professional career. He is survived by his three children, Thomas of Gaithersburg, Maryland; Benjamin ’86, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts; and Elizabeth who lives in Berlin, Germany, and by eight grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife of sixty years, Marilyn L. Conway.

For his service in Korea, Henry Conway was awarded a Purple Heart. In January, he is to be laid to rest in a military ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, fittingly the former home of Robert E. Lee.

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