Friday, February 3, 2012
By Denise Dick
A baby grand piano at Chaney’s visual and performing arts school will be dedicated to a school security officer who died this week while on duty.
Robert Conway Sr., 57, of Boardman, died Wednesday afternoon after apparently suffering a heart attack while working at the school.
Karen Ingraham, a city schools spokeswoman, said no students were believed to be in the area when Conway collapsed. Grief counselors were at the school Thursday and would remain there for as long as needed.
Tracy Schuler-Vivo, Chaney Visual and Performing Arts coordinator, said Conway was excited when a friend of Schuler-Vivo’s donated a baby grand piano to the school.
“It has a few nicks in it, but it’s in pretty good shape,” she said. “Officer Conway was so excited about refinishing it and making it all shiny. He was looking up on the website to find out the best way to do it.”
When Conway heard Schuler-Vivo wanted to get a storage box for the new piano, he brought designs for it to her office.
“When I heard about what happened [Wednesday], I knew I had to dedicate it to him and the guy who donated it,” she said. “It will be called the [Dan] Kalosky-Conway piano. Maybe we’ll get a little plaque to put on it.”
William Morvay, security chief at the city schools, where Conway started working in 1992, said Conway enjoyed working with the students.
“I’ve heard a lot of stories about him volunteering to work different events,” he said. “When he was at Rayen a while back, and they were having their prom or formal event, he would rent his own tux and make sure he was there for the kids.”
Conway worked as a reserve Mahoning County deputy sheriff, beginning in 1981.
“First of all he was a good family man, devoted to his wife and his family,” said Sheriff Randall A. Wellington. “He was a hard worker. He was very dependable, he knew his job and he did it well.”
Conway is survived by his wife, Sharon, four sons, Robert F. Jr. of New Waterford, Nicholas Conway of East Palestine, Mason Hornyak of Youngstown and Mark Conway of New Middletown; three daughters, Michelle Powell of New Springfield, Nichole Johnson of New Middletown and Melissa Conway of Columbus; and eight grandchildren.
Sgt. Chuck VanDyke, who is in charge of the reserves at the sheriff’s office, said Conway graduated from the police academy in 1981 and initially became a reserve deputy under former Sheriff James A. Traficant.
“He has been with us ever since,” VanDyke said.
Conway was a 1973 graduate of Cardinal Mooney High School and earned his bachelor’s degree from Youngstown State University.
He was a member of the Youngstown chapter of the Blue Knights, a police motorcycle organization that contributes to charitable causes. The organization’s website says it has raised money for the Michael Hartzell Scholarship Fund, Make A Wish Foundation, Hospice of the Valley and the Joe Kaluza Fund.
Robin Lees, a retired Youngstown Police lieutenant and a Blue Knights member, said that while the club includes many members, Conway was one who was active and involved.
“He was always giving of his time,” he said.
Conway’s obituary says he loved his dogs and was a supporter of the Paws and Prayers Rescue Group of Akron.
Services will be at noon Saturday at Clemente Funeral Home in Struthers, where calling hours will be from 9 a.m. to noon.
Memorial tributes in Conway’s name may be made to Paws and Prayers, P.O. Box 2864, Akron, OH 44309.