Candace Banks Conley was born April 16, 1930 in Magoffin County, Ky. to Ida Arnett Banks and Jim Banks, who preceded her in death, as well as her husband John Ray Conley and her dear Aunt Aggie Arnett. Mrs. Conley passed away at her home on May 28, 2022 at the age of 92.
Life at home for her in the 1930s was an extension of the school day. After evening chores were finished and supper was over, homework was done by the light of an oil lamp. Candace’s father always helped her do her work. He sat by the table and read until she finished, always there if she needed him. Most children did their work because teachers were so strict and you would get a really hard whipping or switching for even the smallest thing, from not having your homework to giggling or making funny faces. Home life centered around the fireplace and kitchen table listening to older folks talk and share experiences, playing games, telling riddles and jokes, listening to the radio when the battery was up and doing chores, like sweeping the floor, washing dishes, making beds, feeding chickens and pets.
Mrs. Conley was an only child, and by being an only child, she developed a great love of animals for companionship. Her love for animals remained until her passing.
She grew up in an era of poverty, but through hard work and much determination by herself and support from her parents, Mrs. Conley overcame her shyness and set her goal on becoming a teacher. She had additional support from cousins Roscoe and Sally Risner, who provided many rides to town to attend school, as well as trips to Pikeville, Ky. for picnics. Through her tenacity and hard work, she was able to complete high school at 16.
During her high school years, she met her future husband, John Ray Conley. He had come back from a stint in the Navy and was convinced to finish high school by M.F. Rice. After graduation from high school, she and Mr. Conley attended Morehead State University and began dating and married in 1949. To this union two children were born, Phillip and Pamela.
Mrs. Conley was able to begin college at Morehead State University at a young age and received a teaching certificate at age 18. She taught school for 39 years. Her first school was Carty Branch, where she taught all eight grades. She also taught at Petex on Mine Fork, Lakeville and Salyersville Grade School with her good friend Peggy Arnett and Middle Fork Elementary with her good friend Anna Mae Arnett. She also taught adult education. Mrs. Conley loved teaching, so it was appropriate she was named teacher of the year in 1984. One of her favorite books to share with her 3rd grade class was “Charlotte’s Web”. Mrs. Conley remembered most of the names of the children she taught in the classroom and was always pleased with their successes in life.
She was involved in 4-H for many years, as well as an ardent supporter. Mrs. Conley also had Phillip and Pamela involved with 4-H, Pamela with cooking and Phillip raising farm animals to show in 4-H contests. She and her teaching friend, Peggy Arnett, were also involved in helping and having their classroom girls participate in the May Pole dance each year.
In 1961, Mrs. Conley realized that something was missing from her life and this was Jesus Christ. During an invitation from her sister-in-law, Doris Conley, to attend a revival she was baptized into Christ and was faithful until her death. She has gone to a special place, where there is peace and praises for everyone. That place is Heaven. She attended the Salyersville Church of Christ and considered this her church home.
The Conleys spent many years on their farm raising cattle, and farming tobacco and corn. Typically after teaching, she would come home, cook supper, as well as tend to the garden, and also helped with loading and storing of the hay. This pattern continued until she retired from teaching in 1987. Mrs. Conley was fortunate to have Pam and Wandall Collinsworth as friends who spent many days reminiscing on the farm with both Mr. and Mrs. Conley. Pamela was fortunate to spend several years with them after her retirement, and blessed enough to move back to the farm and continue to spend life with her. Phillip always kept up with her by calling and visiting when he could.
Mrs. Conley and Pamela’s family moved to Tennessee in November of 2021 to start a new adventure in life. Pamela and her family will continue to love and cherish Mrs. Conley for all the love, wisdom and support she has provided them in their lives. Candace will eternally be missed.
She is survived by son, Phillip Ray Conley (Ruthie) and daughter Pamela Conley Crabtree (Jim); five grandchildren; one step-great-grandchild; and four great-grandchildren; and by her brother-in-law, Marcus Conley.
She loved sharing her stories with Offie Marshall and Johnnie Sue Patrick in Kentucky, and with Beverly Rice and Mozella Williamson in Tennessee. She and Beverly shared many stories about teaching, since Beverly was also a teacher.
Funeral services were conducted June 2, 2022 at Replogle-Lawrence Funeral Home in Medina, Tenn. with Chaplin Donnie Davis officiating. Friends may visit the funeral home from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the day of the funeral.
Following the funeral, burial will take place at Gibson County Memory Gardens, 85 Milan Hwy, Humboldt, TN.