LIBERTY — WL Conley celebrated his 100th birthday on Sept. 19. COVID-19 halted any parties or family gatherings, but his family did encourage cards sent to his farm.
“I want to thank everyone for 95 cards and letters for my birthday,” he said. “It was fun to receive all these cards. The most I got one day was 20. That was something else, and I really appreciated every card and note I received. I got letters telling me they were kids of parents I knew. It brought back so many memories of their aunts, uncles and grandparents.”
Born just outside of Liberty, Conley has been a local a resident all 100 years, minus two he gave to “Uncle Sam.”
“I was in Army infantry,” he said. “I got in to Saipan on Jan. 5, 1945. World War II wasn’t over when I got there. I then completed two years of service.”
Prior to the war, Conley worked for a farmer, but after returning home, he worked at the Liberty Pride factory, including being the company electrician. Then he attended refrigeration/electrical school for nine months. That led to an 18-year career for an appliance distribution company.
“From 1969 to 1992, I then handled repair work for a weigh scale company,” he said. “I decided to retire at 71.”
Conley said he remembers the movies and spending time at Fleming Drug Store, where he went to grab a soda and ice cream.
“I married when I was 44 years old to Clara,” he said. “We were married 39 years before her passing in December 2003.”
While Conley said he doesn’t know if there is a trick to living to 100 years or older, he is the seventh in his family to hit that milestone. His father lived to be 102, his mother’s older sister lived to be 101 and other cousins hit or passed the number.
“I guess I’m just lucky,” he said. “I get some good exercise being on the farm. I know times have changed and I don’t watch a lot of television, however, I like football and the Chiefs. That I still watch.”