Harry Conley, 2009 Citizen of the Year

harry conley

HARRY WAYNE CONLEY was born Feb 19, 1929 to John A Conley and Irene Wells Conley. His mother died when he was three days old and he was raised by his grandparents, Harry G and Esther Wells. He grew up in their home onCushman Avein Earlville, a dead-end street which had two houses but he was in no way a ‘dead-end kid’! Like any kid of that era he had chores to do around the house, some probably he hated but knew he had to do them or else. He spent time at his father’s farm out of Earlville towards Lebanon. I quote from his life story he wrote for his children:
“We had electricity and running water at my Wells grandparents home, but two miles from there at my father’s and grandfather’s farms there was no electric—only kerosene lamps and lanterns at night. When it got dark your day was over. Water was piped into the house and we had wood stoves for heat. The wood from the farm was cut and split by hand so I got warm twice—when I filled the woodbox and when it burned in the stove!”
“I attended Earlville School and we walked to school every day and on my way home I had to stop and get the mail at the post office,” And we have seen Harry walk around Sherburne doing errands and then pick up the town office mail many times! Old habits die hard!
“I was about five during prohibition days and one day I discovered beer was sold at the local store. I asked Grampa Wells for money to buy beer and he reached in his pocket and handed me some. I hurried back to the store and hard to believe today, but they sold me several bottles and put them in a bag. I returned home and grampa took a bottle out of the bag, opened it and handed it to me. I took a swig and I didn’t like it but I didn’t tease for beer anymore.”
For entertainment while growing up he listened to the radio and attended the local movie theater in the Earlville Opera House. He had a part-time job at the A&P grocery store, mowed neighborhood lawns and shoveled sidewalks for pocket money so he learned good work ethics as a young boy. His first car was a 1931 Model ‘A’ Ford coupe, which he got in 1946 when he graduated from high school. It was 15 years old but he drove it toDelhiCollegewhich he attended and apparently learned the building trades as he went on to build many homes in this area before he got the ‘cushy’ job of Town Supervisor.
He was married to Neva Chesebro on July 2, 1950 and they had four children and built the two houses they have lived in. She passed away in 1997.
Harry served on the Town Board as Councilman 1990 to 1996 served as Town Supervisor from 1996 to 2009. In addition, he has served as a member of the County Finance Committee and Public Works Committee for theCountyofChenango. He has also been a Board Member of Pratt Newton Memorial Home and also a Board Member of the Sherburne Public Library and West Hill Cemetery Board Member. He has been one of those unusual, people in the political arena—an honest politician and he has served us well.

Previous James Webb, 2008 Citizen of the Year

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