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France Blanche Lewis Conoley

1919 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
France Blanche Lewis Conoley Obituary
France Blanche Lewis Conoley May 19, 1919 - August 9, 2018 SAN DIEGO France Blanche Lewis Conoley enjoyed life with boundless energy, generosity, a devout faith, a sense of curiosity, a love of travel and books, a fondness for wine, an appreciation for beauty, an interest in music and dramatic arts, and a passion for living things, be they human, flower, or domesticated pet. She died peacefully of natural causes on Bainbridge Island, Washington on August 9, 2018. She was 99.France was born in Brest, France on May 19, 1919, the daughter of an active duty U.S. Marine and a French beauty. The Lewis family returned to the United States on the troop ship "America". France began a lifetime of Marine Corps postings, first with her parents, and later with her husband/family. During 1923-1924, she lived on Haiti. In 1935, she traveled from the east coast to San Diego via the Panama Canal, attending and graduating from Point Loma High School in 1937. The following year, when she was only 19 years old, after taking a steamship alone across the Pacific and with the permission of the base commander, France married the love of her life, Marine officer Odell M. "Tex" Conoley, who was then stationed in Tientsin, China. Returning later to the United States, their four children were born near four Marine bases. As Tex fought in World War II and was awarded the Navy Cross on Guadalcanal, volunteered for duty in postwar Japan, and served in Korea, France raised their children. Tex was promoted to Brigadier General and the family moved to Paris, France, where they lived for three years. France hosted lavish dinner parties, and balanced her time organizing family, friends, dignitary visits and establishing Franco-American luncheons in the City of Light. The family returned to America on the SS United States. Retiring from military life, Tex and France bought their San Diego home in 1964. They celebrated 55 years of marriage before Tex died in 1993. Reconnecting with her French aunt and cousins, France visited her country of birth three more times, and made two trips to China and Japan, but always returned to live in their home and nourish their garden.France joined the Point Loma Garden Club in 1965-1966, was president 1975-1976, and at the time of her death, had the longest tenure in that organization. After taking course work and examinations, France became an Accredited Master Flower Show Judge. As a member of the Southwestern Judges Council, she often judged floral arrangements at the San Diego County Fair.France was a member of the local chapter of the Ichiyo School of Ikebana, and a frequent contributor to the "Arts Alive" program at the San Diego Museum of Art. France was a longtime member of St. Agnes Catholic Parish.France was predeceased by her husband Tex, her brother Bob Lewis, and her sister Dorothy Burke. She is survived by her children Robert (Michelle Shellenberger) Victoire (Bob Deer), Marie, and Martin (Kate Mead), her brother George Lewis (Valerie), sister Emilie Lamar, six grandchildren, eleven great grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.France will be buried with Tex at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, at a date to be determined.In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Point Loma Garden Club or to .
Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Sept. 16, 2018
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