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The Yankee Express

Conroy War Memorial pays homage to heroic family members

The names of Conroy family members who served in World War II and Vietnam are etched in this handsome monument in Auburn. The Conroy War Memorial was dedicated last month.

By Rod Lee

Veterans Day 2022 carried more meaning than usual for Sheila Conroy and three generations of the Conroy family, as they gathered on November 12th at 516 Southbridge St. in Auburn for dedication of the Conroy War Memorial.
The Conroy family has had a presence in the town of Auburn for many years, Ms. Conroy pointed out.

 Gary Conroy offers welcoming remarks at the dedication of the Conroy War Memorial on Southbridge St. in Auburn on November 12th.

“The site of the monument is the small piece of land remaining after the sale and division of the family-owned ten-plus acres for the Mass Pike, I-290, the widening of Southbridge St., and the relocation of Leicester St. (now known as Water St.),” she said, prior to the event.
Work began after a go-ahead was obtained from the Auburn Planning Board, which offered its support as well.
Swenson Granite Works was helpful in choosing the right materials and lettering for the handsome monument, Ms. Conroy said.
Ruben Da Silva of New Image Landscape Construction was responsible for the structural design of the retailing wall and finishing off the area with crushed stone and mulch.
The family members from World War II remembered on the monument are:
Ralph J. Conroy, pilot for Gen. Eisenhower and President Truman.
Robert Conroy, killed in Italy on patrol with his K-9 Kosky. It was just four days after his twentieth birthday. Earlier that day Robert saved his entire platoon from ambush. His mother Hannah was presented with the Purple Heart for Robert’s bravery.
Frederick Conroy returned home after serving in Germany.
Family members from the Vietnam War are as follows:
Robert T. Conroy, son of Ralph Conroy and Rita Conroy.
Robert A. Whitney, son of Austin and Emma (Conroy) Whitney.
Paul K. Wentworth, son of Kenneth and Ruth (Conroy) Wentworth.
“The Conroy family have been residents of Auburn since the 1870s, beginning their first business as a convenience store and gas station where the Auburn Water District is presently,” Ms. Conroy said.
“Conroy Construction Co. was owned and operated by Henry Conroy, father to Ralph, Robert, Frederick, Emma and Ruth. Henry invented one of the first paving machines, which was used in his heavy construction business, located near Water St.
“The sons worked for their father and continued the operation of the business after Henry’s death in 1944.
“The family owned a package store, Chieftain Liquor, on Southbridge St., which is still in operation with new owners. Next to the package store was the family-owned bowling alley, which is now the home of Home Outlet building materials.”
Ms. Conroy said Ralph Conroy purchased the land on Washington St. which became the Auburn Airport. This was in operation until his death in 1955. It then became the Auburn Drive-In and is now the location of Home Depot and BJ’s Wholesale.”
“The monument is a reminder of the bravery and dedication of these men, who kept our country free for generations now and to come,” Ms. Conroy said.