Cover photo for Helen E. Conley's Obituary
Helen E. Conley Profile Photo
1934 Helen 2023

Helen E. Conley

April 16, 1934 — March 31, 2023

Detroit Lakes

Helen E. Conley, beloved wife, mother, grandma and friend to many, was peacefully taken home into the arms of Jesus and reunited with the love of her life, Wayne, on March 31, 2023, one day ahead of their 68th wedding anniversary of April 1st.  “Gramma” Helen confidently and faithfully made her journey heavenward, leaving a legacy of courage, strength and grace for those who knew and loved her most.  

Born on April 16, 1934 to Thomas and May Digney, Helen and her younger brother Alan enjoyed life in the quaint ferry port town of Stranraer, Scotland. Helen learned to enjoy gardening from her mother May and worked as a telephone operator for British Telecom after graduating. While enjoying an evening of dancing at Port Patrick, Helen met a handsome American Airman who stole her heart.  Love grew on the pages of letters sent back and forth between Stranraer and Minnesota, culminating in a written proposal that brought a young Scottish girl across the pond. As if stolen from the pages of a fairy tale, Helen bravely made her way across the ocean, alone at the age of 20, aboard the Cunard White Star, a transatlantic ocean liner. There, she was met by her groom Wayne Conley, who eagerly awaited her arrival on the docks of Ellis Island, NY.  From there, they traveled down the coast in search of a Justice of Peace who would marry them. They were married on a beautiful spring day in 1955 in North Carolina, and so began their journey together as they ventured north to the Land of 10,000 Lakes. 

Helen and Wayne would make their lifelong home in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. There they became the proud parents of three children, Leslie, Ryan, and Michael. Helen was warmly welcomed by the Conley family and Detroit Lakes community. While simultaneously wrangling her three children, Helen helped build and manage the Conley Pen Company. She later went on to work for many years at the local cable television company. Despite her new busy life, Helen faithfully wrote weekly letters to her mother in Stranraer until she passed in 1993.

Helen was actively involved in her community and was a lifelong, devoted member of the United Methodist Church of Detroit Lakes.  She faithfully attended every sporting event and school activity, while keeping a pristine house and cooking amazing meals for her family. Helen enjoyed playing bridge, was a member of the church choir and was a member of the Sherman Street Birthday Club. She was an avid reader and known for her great sense of humor and will always be remembered as a woman of great faith and generosity.     

Of all her accomplishments, Helen was most proud of her children and grandchildren.  She will be greatly missed by those of us who were blessed to call her mother and grandmother.  We will remember fondly her beautiful garden, her loyalty to the Queen and her gentle and quiet faith.  

Helen was preceded in death by her husband Wayne Conley, her parents Thomas and May Digney, and her brother Alan Digney.  Helen is survived by her children Leslie Conley, Ryan (Melissa) Conley, Michael (Barb) Conley, six beautiful grandchildren Lindsey (Keith), Claire, Chace (Amber), Erika, Gabrielle and Hunter, and her great-grandchildren, Jettson, Malakai, and Norah. 

Helen will be laid to rest on Friday April 21, 2023 with services held at the United Methodist Church at 2pm.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Helen E. Conley, please visit our flower store.
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