Frank Fields Conley(December 13, 1928 - October 27, 2012)

Frank Fields Conley

December 13, 1928 ~ October 27, 2012

Carmel Valley - Frank Fields Conley died Saturday, October 27, 2012, after declining health, surrounded by family and friends. Born December 13, 1928 in Huntington, West Virginia to Frank and Roberta Conley, he was a newspaper printer by trade and a member of the International Typographical Union. He worked for several California daily papers including the Visalia Times Delta and Monterey County Herald. He served in the Navy during WWII.

Mr. Conley was a life-long bagpiper and instructor whose students were medal winners, and founded the Monterey Bay Scottish Bagpipe Research Group. He was a founding member of Cross and Cockade, a society of World War I aviation historians, and a model airplane and lead soldier builder. He designed and hand-painted trophy winning miniature lead soldiers. He was recognized for his knowledge of the American Civil War and Scottish history.

Mr. Conley became a leader in the field of vintage and historic motorcycles as founder of the Classic and Antique Motorcycle Association. His annual Visalia rally was the predecessor of numerous vintage meets before one-make clubs proliferated. It had no peer. He laid out a logical order of show classes based on age and displacement categories that became the basis of the judging system still in use today. Mr. Conley's authentic motorcycle restoration work was incomparable and trophy winning. He then became the world's leading supplier of Greeves motorcycle parts and staged an annual Greeves Days event each winter.

Mr. Conley was competitive at shooting black powder flintlock, high caliber buffalo guns, and trap. He authored The American Single Barrel Trap Gun. He won marksmanship competitions in Montana at 900 yards. He greatly enjoyed fly-tying and fishing with annual trips to Montana. He raised a strain of Old English game fowl whose lineage traced to the 18th century.

He was creative, self-taught, inquisitive and scholarly, with a fine eye, a talented hand, and a generous heart. He was a leader among men and excelled at every undertaking.

He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Luana; a daughter, Lisa Dean (Robert) of Los Angeles; and grandchildren, Luke, Rachel, Jacob, and Joshua; and great-grandchildren, Connor, Audrey, and Jonah. He was preceded in death by son, Michael and daughter, Sharon.

A Scottish cŽilidh will be held in December to celebrate his life. For further information contact Mick Bench at


Published in The Monterey Herald on Nov. 7, 2012