Charlie Conroy, beloved husband of Arlene Claussen Conroy, died at home on May 20, 2011. He was born to the late Charles T. Conroy Sr. and the late Agnes Valentine Conroy. A Tisbury resident, he had celebrated 79 years of island life. As a family man, he enjoyed boating and nature walks with his wife, children, and family dogs.
Charlie attended Tisbury School and began his fishing career early, in the summer of 1941. At the age of 9, young Charlie decided to go on his first offshore fishing trip aboard a sea scalloper headed for Georges Bank. After graduation from Tisbury High School in 1949, Charlie volunteered for the Army, serving in Korea, ending with an honorable discharge and the rank of sergeant. Resuming island life, he volunteered on the Tisbury Fire Department,Tisbury fish committees and the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Committee.
He shared his love of the water by teaching others about fishing, cleaning fish, and sharing the catch. After military service, his livelihood included many kinds of fishing and boating: charter fishing with the On Time II; oystering with Capt. John Mayhew; lobstering on the boat Debra; doing rescue and salvage work as first mate on the tugboat Whitefoot; drag fishing with the boat JoAnne & Micheal; sea scalloping on the Dana J.; fishing for sea bass and scup with the boat The Loyal; and fishing for sea bass on The Old Dog. He also enjoyed scalloping, fluking, lobstering, and conching in his skiffs through the years.
A rock from the Supportive Day Program was painted with this description of Charlie — a fisherman, team player, thinker, fun person, and joker. A quiet man always sharing a smile with folks, he truly treasured the salt sea and all it had to offer. He fished long hours and thrived during every minute of it. His wife remembers scalloping with Charlie on Lagoon Pond, and hearing him say, “One more tow, one more tow.”
Charlie leaves his wife, Arlene, and his children: Debra Conroy of Vineyard Haven; Kathleen Shoemaker of Columbia, Md., and her husband, Jon, and their children, Caitlin, Thomas, and Samuel; JoAnne Conroy of Starksboro, Vt., and her partner, Michael Cole; and Michael Conroy of Vineyard Haven. He is also survived by his brother Paul L. Conroy of Edgartown. Charlie’s younger sister, Maureen Conroy Hearn of Burlington predeceased him this spring.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, July 15, 2011, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, Vineyard Haven, at 11 am. On Tuesday, July 19, a funeral mass will be held at St. Augustine’s, Vineyard Haven, at 11 am.Remembrances to the following organizations may be made in lieu of flowers: M.V. Center for Living (for the Supportive Day Program), PO Box 1729, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568; Island Hospice, PO Box 4188, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568; or Vineyard Nursing Association, PO Box 399, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.