Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Conley Ray Stephenson


February 4, 2021

Conley Ray Stephenson

Conley Ray Stephenson

Conley Ray Stephenson passed away Tuesday night, January 26, 2021, at the City View Adult Family Home in Colfax, Wash. He was 90.

Conley was born March 16, 1930, in Tacoma, Washington, to Joseph and Olga Ehlke Stephenson. His family moved several times while he was growing up during the depression years.

He graduated from the Tigard, Oregon High School, where he played cornet in the band, and played baseball and basketball. Conley grew up in a musical family and carried that love of music his entire life. He was accomplished on the xylophone, and toured as a youth with his sister as part of the "Young Oregonians". One of his favorite jobs was as the "projectionist" at the Joy Theatre in Tigard, fostering a lifelong love of great movies.

He served in the United States Navy stationed in San Diego in radar operations for one year and spent five years in the Naval Reserve. Conley received his Bachelor of Music Education degree and a Master's Degree from Pacific University.

He married Darlene N. Anderson, the love of his life, on June 25, 1955. Conley taught band and choir in Oregon at Banks and Canby before moving to Independence, Oregon, where he taught high school band, and later mathematics until he retired. He and Darlene raised three girls there. Music was always a big part of family life. The family also enjoyed camping and spending time at a cabin on Devils Lake at the Oregon coast.

He was a great husband and father. Conley was an airplane and car enthusiast. He loved working with his small John Deere tractor on their land and working in his extensive shop. He was a devoted member of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church in Dallas, Oregon. Conley had learned of Jesus' love as a boy, and took Him to be his own Savior at age 11. He turned the direction of his life over to Him in his forties. These decisions greatly affected the course of his life.

He and Darlene moved to Colfax, Washington, in 2012 to be closer to family. He is survived by his wife, Darlene, at home in Colfax; three daughters, Nancy (Daniel) Williams of Anchorage, Alaska, Melissa (Rich) May, Colfax, and Leanne (Chris) Albright of Boise, Idaho; 10 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Alice, granddaughter Ruthie May, and by his sister, Jean Rawls, and his parents.

The family suggests memorial gifts to Missionary Aviation Fellowship. On-line guest book is at


Bruning Funeral Home of Colfax is caring for the family.


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