Obituary: David Alexander Conlin Jr.
David Alexander Conlin Jr.
1923 - 2023
David Alexander Conlin, Jr. David loved life, and life loved him back.
He landed his first role in Tarrytown, New York, where he was born to David Sr., and Jane McKillion Conlin, on August 2, 1923. An idyllic childhood in Norwalk, Connecticut with his parents and two younger brothers, Robert and Donald, was followed by a stint with a traveling theater company, playing the lead romantic role in Kiss and Tell.
A sojourn in Phoenix led to real life romance and marriage to the lovely Roberta Louise (Bobby Lou) Crawley, shortly followed by the arrival of his first three children. Great hardship ensued when Bobby Lou contracted polio, and the young family endured some lean and challenging years.
David and his brother Bob engaged in a number of business ventures together in Phoenix, including chicken farming, operating a bowling alley, and, David’s least favorite job, selling ladies’ shoes.
In the 1950s, the brothers discovered the land business, and soon they were off to the races. From their modest office on 7th Street, they spent decades running the Glenarm Land Company, and developing properties in the Phoenix area, and as far afield as Wilhoit, Dewey, Chino Valley, and even the Vermilion Cliffs, in far northern Arizona.
One of David’s great passions was the game of bridge, at which he excelled, becoming a life master in the 1950’s. He played in many national, and Irish tournaments, over the years, as well as recreationally. His daily game was at the Men’s Dining Room of the Phoenix Country Club, where he won so habitually that the other players called him “Ho Hum”, with more than a little chagrin. Later in life, David and his beloved second wife Anne Learmonth (Sandy) played as a team, enjoying the game together in Ireland, Spain, and, finally, at the Sedona Bridge Center.
During his middle years, David became a father again, with the arrival of three more children. The family owned a rambling old Victorian home in Prescott, on South Mount Vernon Street, which was, without a doubt, haunted. There, his extended family enjoyed many adventures, and David sharpened his skills as a master teller of ghost stories, leaving some of his children unable to go to bed without a quick peek underneath it, first.
David’s mother Jane was Irish, and, in 1967, David and his brother Bob realized a lifelong dream of visiting her homeland. As they stepped onto the tarmac, setting foot on Irish soil for the very first time, David proclaimed, (as he was wont to do) “I’m home.” The following decades saw David embracing Ireland with a deep love, and the good fortune to enjoy living there for a sizable portion of each year, while returning to Phoenix in the winter months.
In 1970, David, at the urging of his son Alec, purchased, sight unseen, the decommissioned lighthouse on Clare Island, County Mayo, Ireland. This led to decades of incomparable experiences for David and his large family, on that remote western outpost. Later years saw David relocating to the gentler pastures of County Tipperary, near the shores of Lough Derg.
Towards the latter portion of his traveling years, David and Sandy discovered the charms of Sitges, Spain, and became regular visitors there, even joining their local bridge game. He often said that, had he discovered Sitges sooner, he would certainly have hoped to put down more permanent roots, there.
In the 1980s, David and his brother moved to the Verde Valley, where they ran their company together for another 20 years. Along with many members of his extended family, David was fortunate enough to call this beautiful valley home.
David’s last years were spent in Clarkdale, Arizona, in his delightful historic abode, which was filled with artwork and memories from the many paths of his richly lived journey.
He was predeceased by his mother, father, his first wife, and both of his brothers.
Surviving David are his second wife, Sandy, six children, Sheila, Alec, Patrick, Anne, Michael, and Daniel (Sashea Lavender), twelve grandchildren, Ona Ziegler, Neal Conlin, Eamonn Stewart, Cormac Conlin, Bruno Conlin, Eva Alt, Clea Conlin, Aidan Stewart, Emma Stewart, Iain Conlin, James Conlin, and Fiona Conlin, and four great-grandchildren, Dino, River, Rohan, and Louisa.
His family will be hosting an Irish wake for David at 1304 First South Street, in Clarkdale, on Saturday, May 27, at 11 a.m., for family and friends. No flowers, please: only bring yourself, and a good memory.
Information provided by the funeral home.