James J. Conley Sr., 91 years, of Brockton, died June 1, 2014. Mr. Conley, known as J.J. or Jay to family and friends, passed away peacefully Sunday morning at N.E. Sinai Hospital comforted by the presence of his family. He was the devoted husband of the late Jane (Cass) Conley. A lifelong resident of Brockton, Jay was the son of the late J. Frank and Alice (McCarthy) Conley. He and his wife Jane were graduates of Brockton High School, Class of 1940, and served on the Class Reunion Committee. Jay then graduated from Hebron Academy in Maine before entering the Class of 1945 at Middlebury College in Vermont, where he was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. Jays studies were interrupted, however, when World War II broke out and he, like many other patriotic Americans, enlisted in the service of his country. He became a 1st lieutenant in the Army Air Corps and served as a bombardier/ navigator in the 15th Air Force/456th Bomb group/ 746 Bomb Squadron. Assigned to a B-24 Liberator bomber, Jay served throughout Europe and the Balkans. On Dec.11, 1944, his plane was crippled by enemy fire over Yugoslavia. While others began bailing out, Jay remained on board until he helped the last two crew members who were struggling with their equipment to safely exit the plane. He then jumped. He was listed as MIA for two months while Slovene partisans secretly transported him and his crew members, house to house, to the safe shores of the Adriatic. Jay received several battle and unit citations, as The Enterprise once reported, for meritorious achievement in aerial flight in sustained activities against the enemy as well as the Air Medal with several oak leaf clusters at the age of 22. He was headed for the Pacific Theater when the atomic bomb ended the war. After the war, Jay joined his father at the J. Frank Conley Funeral Home and his older brother Frank followed a year later. When his father died in 1974, Jay and Frank operated the business with Jay as President and Frank as Treasurer until Franks death in 2003. In 1947, Jay married the former Jane B. Cass, daughter of Brockton police officer Chester B. Cass and Jane (Mottau) Cass, and enjoyed 52 years of a mutually devoted relationship until her death in June of 1999. Together they took great pleasure in spending time with family and friends at their summer cottage on Cape Cod. Jay was a member of the Holy Name Society, the Seville Council of the Knights of Columbus, V.F.W. Post 1046, American Legion Post 35, the Air Force Association, the Caterpillar Club, The Hundred Club of Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Funeral Directors Association. He was a communicant of Our Lady of Lourdes and a supporter of many charities. Mr. Conley is survived by his daughter, Catherine Striese of Brockton; grandchildren, Laura C. Striese of Manhattan and Philip C. Striese of Brockton; his sisters, Mary Nelson of Worcester and Sue Cummings of Simsbury, Conn.; sister-in-law, Marian E. Conley, wife of the late J. Frank Conley Jr.; and many nieces and nephews. He will be remembered by his relatives and friends for his thoughtful kindness, good nature, ready smile, generosity, humility, and religious faith. He was truly a gentleman. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Friday, June 6, 2014, at 11 a.m. Interment will follow at Pine Hill Cemetery, West Bridgewater. Honoring Mr. Conleys request, there will be no visiting hours. In lieu of flowers, donations in Jays name may be made to Father Bills & MainSpring, firstname.lastname@example.org. For condolences please, visit www.conleyfuneralhome.com or on Facebook at Conley Funeral & Cremation Service.
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Conley Funeral & Cremation Service
138 Belmont St Brockton, MA 02301
Published in The Enterprise on June 5, 2014