In Memory of




Obituary for William J. Conley

Ret. Colonel William James “Wild Bill” Conley, USMC, 83, departed this earthly plane on Sunday evening, March 10th, 2024, surrounded by his loving family at St. Vincent’s hospital.

A husband and best friend to the love of his life, the former Kathleen Looney, he was the proud father of five, a brother, an uncle and a friend to many. He led a full life of service and duty of which he was very proud. A graduate of St. John’s High School, Class of ’58 and an all-city football player, William went on to graduate from Worcester State Teachers College and earned a commission in the United States Marine Corps. An accomplished Marine aviator, he earned 28 strike/flight medals as well as several valorous medals for his accomplishments during his service in Vietnam. He had a few aircraft shot out from underneath him while flying night medevacs and rescued many Marines in the process.

William went on to a distinguished career in the Marine Corps, commanding at all levels, leading the men and women who keep this country safe. The Colonel’s last command in the Marine Corps was Commander of Marine Forces Panama just prior to the ouster of Manuel Noriega in 1988. He retired from the Marine Corps and settled back here in his beloved Central Massachusetts, taking a job as the Director of Administrative Services for the College of the Holy Cross, where he served for over twenty years.

In both careers, he always fought for justice for the little guy. Not one to rest on his laurels in his private time, William served his community as a leader in the Knights of Columbus, coached youth sports, co-founded the Dudley-Charlton Youth Lacrosse League, was elected as the water commissioner for the Town of Dudley, was an active and devoted parishioner at St. Anthony of Padua, and advocated for many veteran organizations. He loved life and attacked it with a passion! He was an avid golfer, traveler, and adventurer. He loved to spend time with family and friends telling stories of a life well lived. William was passionate about his faith, family, friends, and country. He was a kind and most generous soul.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, his five loving children, their spouses, eight grandsons, and one bonus granddaughter.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend visiting hours at the Britton-Wallace Funeral Home, 91 Central St., Auburn, MA on Monday, March 18th from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Anthony of Padua, 24 Dudley Hill Rd., Dudley, MA at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 19th - kindly proceed directly to the church, please. A procession will follow to St. John’s Cemetery in Worcester, MA, where military honors will be rendered.

William joins his parents, four brothers and two sisters in heaven.

Memorials in William’s name may be made to Saint Anthony of Padua in Dudley, MA Click Here to Donate Online