C. Michael Conley, 83, of Palm Springs, passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 30, after an illness. A native of Portland, Maine, Michael lived in the Palm Springs area for more than 50 years. He was active in community life, volunteering with and serving on the boards of many organizations, including The Opera Guild, The Desert Museum, and The Behman Art Gallery's after-school art programs for economically struggling elementary schools. For many years, he was a volunteer teacher in Palm Springs schools. In 1986, Michael was among the earliest volunteers for the Pegasus Riding Academy for the Handicapped and he remained very active in Pegasus programs for 25 years. He enjoyed painting, particularly desert and coastal scenes, and pursued painting lessons for many years. Michael was a U.S. Navy veteran and a 1952 graduate of the University of Maine, where he was a member of the Phi Gamma Fraternity. He attended Deering and Portland High Schools in Portland. After graduation from college Michael relocated to California and worked at Zin Television Studios, the Convention Center at the Ambassador Hotel, and at the Buckley School in Los Angeles before moving to Palm Springs. Michael spent most summers in Maine, at his family's summer cottage on Sebago Lake, and, for many years, at the Sebago Lake summer home of Dave and Pam Donohue of Wellesley, Mass., and their family. Michael was the son of the late George D. and Mary Snow Conley. He was predeceased by a brother, Daniel Conley. He leaves his beloved sisters Patricia C. Foley of Portland and Sebago Lake, Maine, and Sharon C. Carter of Marlborough, Mass., as well as four nieces, three nephews, and several grand nieces, and grand nephews. Michael also leaves behind his extended family of Palm Springs friends, including Sandra Donohue, Marilyn Herschliefer, Mary Seals, Joe Vacek and Mary D'Aprix, Lee Appel and Dick Victor, Jerome and Mary Angel, and Jiri Kalita. A private memorial service will be held in Palm Springs. Contributions in Michael's memory may be made to the Pegasus Riding Academy for the Handicapped, 35-450 B Pegasus Court, Palm Desert, Calif., 92211; The Stroke Recovery Center, 2800 East Alejo Road, Palm Springs, Calif. 92262, or Serenity Hospice, 471 East Tahquitz Canyon Way, Suite 207, Palm Springs, Calif. 92262.
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Published in The Desert Sun on Nov. 1, 2012