Cover photo for Joseph Michael Conway's Obituary
Joseph Michael Conway Profile Photo

Joseph Michael Conway

November 1, 1954 — May 2, 2023


Joseph Michael Conway

Joseph Michael Conway, 68, passed away peacefully and of natural causes on May 1, 2023.

Known as Jody growing up, Joe as an adult, and Yoyo to his grandchildren, Joseph was born on November 1, 1954 in Chicago, Illinois, the second of five children of the late Paul Louis Conway and Joan McGarry Conway. He graduated in 1972 from LaSalle High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. Joe attended Purdue University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in
mechanical engineering and a Master of Science degree in industrial engineering. He worked successfully in plant engineering and as an engineering leader for 45 years, retiring in November 2022. At Purdue Joe met and courted Marta Elias, joining her in marriage in 1977.
Joe and Marta loved to “Sit Long and Talk Much” with friends and family, entertain guests with food and music, and work together to fill their home with crafts and handmade furniture. Joe cared for his wife as her health declined, even to the extent of donating to her one of his kidneys. Marta preceded Joe in death in August 2020 after 43 years together.
Surviving brothers Paul and John Conway and sisters Ann Wenger and Martha Purvis cherish the memories of their brother Jody and their fun as the Seven Cs building a vacation home together. Joe was a loving and patient father, leaving behind his son William Conway and daughter Joan Newsome, their spouses Jennifer and Matthew, and ten grandchildren. As “Yoyo” Joe devoted his time and gentle and caring affections to his grandchildren - Lucy, Jack, and Katherine Conway, and Abigail, Josiah, Malcolm, Alister, Madeline, Jasper, and Ephraim Newsome.

A devout Roman Catholic, Joe attended daily Mass at St. Mary Mother of God Catholic Church in Sylva, NC, and served as Music Director and chair of the Parish Liturgy Commission. He was treasurer of the Smoky Mountain Council of the Knights of Columbus. During his lifetime, Joe made pilgrimages to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Chapel of the Holy Shroud in Turin, and St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

Joseph loved to work with his hands. He completed countless projects from scratch, including crafting a kayak as a teenager, fixing up a 1961 Nash Metropolitan, and building every square inch of his mountainside home in Sylva. He used his gifts to benefit those around him by baking wedding cakes, finishing home improvement projects, making liturgical furniture, and cooking edible pancake art for his grandchildren. Joseph was a talented musician who enjoyed singing and playing the guitar and piano, especially when competing in the Elias family’s annual Christmas talent show. His legions of friends and relatives will miss his company and his joyous approach to life and love.

Joseph’s family will welcome friends at Appalachian Funeral Services, 165 Skyland Drive in Sylva, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Thursday, May 11, 2023, with a Vigil service commencing at 7:00 pm. A funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 am on Friday, May 12, at St. Mary Mother of God Catholic Church in Sylva. Joseph will join his beloved wife Marta in eternal rest later this month
at Fairview Memorial Gardens in Sylva, NC.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you consider a donation to St. Clare’s Home in Greenville, SC


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joseph Michael Conway, please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Thursday, May 11, 2023

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

Appalachian Funeral Services

165 Skyland Drive, Sylva, NC 28779

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Friday, May 12, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

St. Mary's Catholic Church

22 Bartlett St, Sylva, NC 28779

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Graveside Service

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Fairivew Memorial Gardens

251 Big Orange Wy, Sylva, NC 28779

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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