Darlene Murphy Conley passed away Sunday, February 18, at her home in Flatwoods, KY. She was born October 7, 1925 in Paintsville KY, the only daughter of Lloyd and Alice Sadler Murphy. She graduated from Oil Springs High School, then went on to obtain a Business degree from the Mayo Vocational School. She met the love of her life, Clyde Conley, soon after he returned home after serving seven campaigns during World War II. They married in 1946, then welcomed their only child, Charles Thomas Conley in 1948. During this period, they owned and operated Community Grocery Store in Paintsville, Kentucky, until Clyde was elected as the Johnson County Circuit Court Clerk in 1952. Darlene worked alongside Clyde during this time, until he left the office in 1958. She then joined the Big Sandy Rural Electric Corporation until once again, Clyde ran for public office and was elected as State Auditor for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, serving under then Governor Louie B. Nunn. Darlene and Clyde moved to Frankfort and worked in that administration until Clyde died unexpectedly. Darlene found herself to be a young widow, and made her way back home to Paintsville, and started a career with the Big Sandy Community Action Program. Darlene’s son, Tom, had long since moved to the Ashland area, where he had been in business, and had a family. She retired in 1989, moving to be with Tom and her grandchildren, a role that she relished.
She remained retired until 1999, when she and her son Tom decided to begin a new business venture together. That year, after several months of mentoring from a cousin already in the sign business in Paintsville, they opened Speedy Signs and Banners. Darlene became an indispensible fixture in the shop. She had found a new calling, and found great joy and excitement with each milestone the business achieved. She had great pride for what she and her son accomplished; she only left the business when her health rendered her unable to continue in her role. That was in 2014.
Darlene was a strong woman, with amazing fortitude. She was smart, articulate and fearless. She unknowingly was a role model for a modern working woman. She overcame many obstacles in her life, and a good example of her tenacity came when she broke a hip while in her 80’s. She was able to endure a painful rehabilitation and come back to her beloved role at the sign shop. Her spunk was to be admired. She was kind, generous and was gifted with a delightful sense of humor. She always had a twinkle in her eye, and her wit was always keen. She will be greatly missed.
Darlene is survived by her son, Tom (Joni) Conley of Ashland. She has three grandchildren, Eric (Jessie) Conley of Redmond WA, Eve (Ron) Staude of Catawba, NC, and Josh (Amanda) Conley of Troutman NC. She also has two step-grandchildren, Amanda James and Caity McNeely of Ashland. She has six great grandchildren and three step- great grandchildren.
There will be no service.
Wright’s Funeral Home in Greenup is entrusted with the arrangements.