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In Memoriam: Robert J. Conley

News & Notes

In Memoriam: Robert J. Conley

Lee Francis

It is with great sadness that we post about the passing of an incredible member of the Wordcraft family, Robert J. Conley (1940-2014). He passed away peacefully on Sunday, February 16th in North Carolina after brief struggles with pneumonia. He was 74.

A prolific author, he wrote over seventy books in his long career, most notably: Nickajack, Mountain Windsong, Cherokee Dragon, and War Woman. Throughout his career, he was honored with many awards and recognitions of his work, including multiple Wordcraft Circle awards, Western Writers of America Spur Awards, and the Cherokee Medal of Honor (2000).

Robert was an original member of Wordcraft Circle and served on the governing board for well over a decade. His presence and wisdom were always valued and he could often be found hanging out, chatting and smoking and scheming, with our founder, Lee Francis III, with whom he formed a strong collegial and personal bond. He was also an incredible mentor for many emerging writers and gave thoughtful and insightful advice to anyone who asked for help.

In recent years, he served as the Sequoyah Distinguished Scholar at Western Carolina University and was instrumental in establishing the Southeastern Writers Gathering in Cherokee, N.C.

We will post further details regarding his memorial service as they are made available by his family.

In the meantime, we all have wonderful memories of “Uncle Robert” and we hope you will share those with us in the comments below. You can also find more about Robert’s career here and here.

May Creator guide his journey to the beyond place and may we continue to honor those who paved the way for us. Remember their stories and be good to one another.

Thank you Robert for being with us and dru’eh’schats (we will see you soon)!