The Rev. Mary W. Conaway, 75, a retired Elder, died Aug. 30, 2018, from cancer at Gilchrist Hospice in Columbia. A Celebration of Life Homegoing Service was held Sept. 7 at Huber Memorial Life Center in Baltimore. The Rev. Marlon Tilghman officiated and the eulogy was given by the Rev. Mamie Williams. Tributes were made by the Revs. Reginald Tarpley, Clarence Davis, Denise Norfleet-Walker and others. Clergy processed in white robes and red stoles.
Mary Ward Pindle Conaway was born Jan. 26, 1943, in Johnson County, North Carolina, the daughter of Mary Jane Davis Ward and Albert Ward. She was educated in the public school system.
She pursued higher education at North Carolina College (N.C. Central University) in Durham. Her BA degree was in voice and education. She also attended Hunter College (Fordham University), Manhattan School of Music and Julliard, all in New York. She sang and traveled with notable groups such as the Harry Belefonte singers, Leonard De Paul Singers, and Metropolitan Opera Extra Chorus and others.
She returned to Baltimore and attended Coppin State College for a Masters of Education in Special Education. Post-graduate studies included clinical psychology when she was called into ministry and received her Masters of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.
Her career path made good use of her degrees: she was a preschool teacher, music teacher and a resource teacher for the Learning Disabled in Baltimore. She taught school in New York and Baltimore for 21 years before she retired in 1981.
For years she was Register of Wills in Baltimore and part of the African-American political establishment, when she met and married politician Frank M. Conaway Sr., longtime Clerk of the Baltimore City Circuit Court, and sometimes member of the House of Delegates. He died Feb. 2, 2015.
Simultaneously, she was ordained an Elder and served at John Wesley UMC in Crownsville 1991-1994; was on medical leave 1994-96; then for 14 years from 1996 to 2010 pastored Cecil Memorial UMC in Annapolis; her last appointment was to St. Lukes UMC in Woodlawn from 2010 until she retired in 2015.
She was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
Survivors include her daughters Monica Pindle from New York City, and Renee Pindle Hendricks Parham from Raleigh, N.C.; a step-son, Frank M. Conaway Jr., and a step-daughter, Hon. Belinda Conaway Washington, of Baltimore. She also leaves eight grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, and five godchildren.
Memorial donations to honor her life may be made to:: Gilchrist Center Hospice Care of Howard County, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, or America's Wounded Warriors Project.