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Bernard J. Conroy, Army officer

He had served during World War II and Vietnam

By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun

4:18 PM EST, November 11, 2012

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Bernard J. Conroy, a retired career Army officer who served during World War II and Vietnam and later became a nursing home volunteer, died Nov. 5 of cancer at Stella Maris Hospice in Timonium. He was 85.

Bernard Jackson "Jack" Conroy was born and raised in New Orleans, where he graduated in 1943 from Fortier High School. The next year, he enlisted in the Navy and served in the Pacific Theater from 1944 to 1946 aboard a Landing Craft Support vessel.

Mr. Conroy participated in the invasion of Okinawa, did mine sweeping between Formosa and the China Coast, and served on the Yangtze River patrol. When the war ended, he was assigned to the occupied Port of Aomori on Northern Honshu, Japan.

Discharged with the rank of boatswain mate 3rd class, Mr. Conroy enrolled at Tulane College where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1950.

After graduation from Tulane, Mr. Conroy was commissioned in the regular Army.

He subsequently served with the 1st Division's 5th Field Artillery in Germany and then held foreign assignments in Korea and the Republic of South Africa, where he was assistant Army attache.

Mr. Conroy did two terms in Vietnam, where he served in logistics with the Transportation Corps.

He retired from the Army with the rank of colonel in 1978. His decorations included the Legion of Merit, with three Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Medal, and the Vietnam Service Medal for participating in eight campaigns.

Mr. Conroy, who had earned a master's in business administration in 1955 from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, also was a 1971 graduate of the National War College at Fort McNair in Washington.

After leaving the service, Mr. Conroy worked as a logistician for Bechtel Corp. on construction projects in Saudi Arabia and Papua, New Guinea.

"His job was to make sure supplies got to where they needed to be," said his wife of 58 years, the former Joan Mulholland.

A resident of the Hampton section of Baltimore County, Mr. Conroy earned his real estate license.

Mr. Conroy was a longtime volunteer in the nursing home at Stella Maris, where he transported patients to therapy and the beauty shop.

"He loved every minute of it," said Mrs. Conroy, a retired registered nurse who had been the director of nursing at Stella Maris for 17 years.

Mr. Conroy enjoyed taking courses in art, history and philosophy at the Johns Hopkins Continuing Education Program at Evergreen.

He was an avid antiques collector and liked looking for collectibles at yard sales. "He was also a great storyteller," said his wife.

A Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. Monday in the chapel at Stella Maris, 2300 Dulaney Valley Road, Timonium, where Mr. Conroy had been a longtime communicant.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Conroy is survived by a son, John William "Jack" Conroy of Broomfield, Colo.; a daughter, Joan Katchmar of Sparks; and five grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com