Father Conley was pastor and teacher
September 6, 2019
Father Martin Conley, a retired priest of the archdiocese whose 62 years of priesthood included 45 years of service to both rural and urban parishes and schools, died Aug. 6. He was 87.
A funeral Mass was held Aug. 12 at St. Cecilia Cathedral with interment at Calvary Cemetery, both in Omaha.
Born in Omaha in 1931, Father Conley was ordained in 1957 by the late Archbishop Gerald T. Bergan at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha.
He attended St. Lawrence Seminary in Mount Calvary, Wisconsin, and Saint Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, and received a master’s degree in divinity from Omaha’s Creighton University in 1975.
“Father Conley was good with people,” said Msgr. William Whelan, homilist at his funeral Mass. “He loved music and he was very dedicated to the church.”
He was capable of administering large parishes and was a good preacher, Msgr. Whelen said.
Father Conley first served in Omaha as associate pastor at St. Cecilia Parish from 1957 to 1963 and St. Bernard Parish from 1963 to 1965.
He became a pastor in 1965, serving at St. Peter Parish in Newcastle until 1972. He then became pastor of St. Patrick Parish in O’Neill, and the former Church of the Epiphany in Emmet and St. Joseph in Amelia, both missions of O’Neill, from 1972 to 1977. He
was pastor of Sacred Heart in Norfolk from 1977 to 1983.
Returning to Omaha, he served as pastor at St. Cecilia from 1983 to 1986 and Holy Ghost Parish from 1986 to 1992. He then served 10 years as pastor at St. Patrick in Tekamah and Holy Family in Decatur until his retirement in 2002.
Father Conley also taught at elementary schools and high schools at several parishes where he served, and was a member of the boards of the archdiocese’s Catholic schools and diaconate program, and the priests’ senate.
He was honored with a City of Omaha Award of Merit in 1962 and the Girls and Boys Town Distinguished Service Award in 2002.
Father Conley was preceded in death by parents, Martin and Rose Anne Burke Conley; sisters and brother-in-law, Mary and George Arens, Rose Ann Conley, and Margaret Grace Conley. He is survived by nieces and nephews; one grandniece; four
grandnephews; retired priests, staff and other residents at St. John Vianney Residence; caregiver Paul Kini and staff; friend, Larry Dwyer; parishioners; other friends.