In Memory of a Supporter

On July 15, 2023, one hour after his 89th birthday and surrounded by his family, Dr. Kenneth Francis Conry died of complications from Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia, the condition that slowly claimed his body over forty years, but mercifully never his sharp mind nor his loving spirit.

Ken was born on July 14, 1934 in Los Angeles, California, the only child of Bernadine (Schultzen) and Francis Conry. He attended the Los Angeles schools of St. Dominicks Elementary, Loyola High School, and Loyola Marymount University. Upon graduating with a double major in history and pre-med in 1955, Ken ventured east to medical school at Creighton University in Omaha, where he met his beloved wife-to-be, Mary Vander Meer, a nursing student at St. Josephs College at Creighton. They married soon after Ken’s graduation in 1959. The young couple moved back to LA for Ken’s radiology residency at Queen of Angels Hospital. They quickly added three boys in three years to the family. In 1962, following residency, Ken and his family moved east to Washington DC where he served for two years as a Public Health Officer at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Ken practiced medicine in various hospitals from California to Kansas, Indiana to Arizona, while adding three more children and countless pets to the family along the way. The Conrys finally settled in Urbandale, Iowa in 1976. Ken retired in 2006 from the Greenfield Hospital and Veterans Administration Hospital in Des Moines.

Ken’s career as a radiologist and expertise capturing life in x-rays and ultrasounds sparked a lifelong passion for photographing beauty in the world, with a particular fascination with lighthouses. His photography has been featured and sold in galleries in Minnesota and adorn the walls of his family and friends, now beautiful reminders of his spirit. Always an adventurer, Ken was a Cessna pilot, avid cyclist, and an early adopter of kayaking. He loved birding, a passion he shared with his wife and siblings-in-law. Ken was a lifelong learner and voracious reader, particularly of history, and he often regaled his children and grandchildren with the true tales of our world. Ken gave generously, volunteered his time to various charities, and was an active member of his church, all while parenting six children, making Ken’s life a story of love – and chaos.

Ken is survived by his wife of 64 years, Mary (Vander Meer) Conry, their children: Kevin (Maristel) of Chanhassen, Minnesota; Mike (Joanne) of Dyer Indiana; Tom of West Des Moines; Kate of West Des Moines; Joan (Francis) Hart of Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Peter (Kristen) of Chevy Chase, Maryland; their 16 grandchildren: Patrick, Mary Rose, Michael (Molly), Margaret (Hunter), Erin (Brett), Thomas (Laura), Bridget, Sarah (Ryan), Steven, Julia, Mara, Clare, Patrick, Michael, Grace, and John; and two great grandchildren, Charlotte and James. His parents, niece Atea Savage, and brothers-in-law James and Peter Vander Meer, preceded him in death.