Albert "Buster" Conley
Lifetime Andrews resident Albert Conley (Buster or Buck), 99 years, 11 months, 25 days, passed Wednesday, March 14, 2018, at his home. He would have been 100 in six days.
Buster was born March 20, 1918, in Andrews to Girdine (Gird) Conley from Franklin, and Hattie Louise Carpenter from Graham County. He was fourth in line of six siblings which were Frank, Glen, Thelma Dockery, Bonnie Mae Derreberry, and Dorothy Day.
Buster met his future wife, Ruth Brown of Andrews, while at a church meeting. He was a devout Christian and never passed up the opportunity to talk about Jesus to others. He was a member of Red Marble Baptist Church, where he was a Sunday school teacher, superintendent of Sunday school and a deacon most of his life.
In 1937, Buster joined a Civilian Conservation Corps camp in South Carolina, where he worked for two days, then decided to join the Army. He went to Asheville, where he was inducted, then sent to Charleston, S.C., (a camp for World War I soldiers) to sail on the St. Mahalia to the Panama Canal Zone. He reached Panama and Fort Davis, where he “cut a trail from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean through the jungles of the Panama Canal Zone.”
He spent two years there, but when World War II broke out and Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1942, he decided to re-enlist. He was sent to Sheppard Field, Texas, in the Army Air Corps. While there, he requested to go overseas and fight. His instructor informed him “If I send you, I lose one man, if I keep you here to train men, I save thousands of lives.” He became a drill instructor at Sheppard Field, Texas, where he did train those thousands of men. If he had not agreed to stay and train those men, he would have shipped out with the guys in his company. They were the soldiers that ended up on the Bataan Death March.
He came home on Nov. 14, 1942, where he and Ruth were married. He returned to Texas to finish his job.
Albert was a great story teller. He has recorded some of his life stories on the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, and is an official part of the Story Corps Archives. You may hear his interviews of Albert Conley at atl002485.
Buster is survived by four children, Ronald Albert and wife Eleanor Ferguson Conley of Parrottsville, Tenn., Sherry Linda West and husband Eddie of Andrews, Donna Elaine Adams and husband Odis (Eddie) of Andrews, and Darrel Lynn and wife Margie Sanderson Conley of Rutherfordton.
There are 12 grandchildren – Lynn, Albert, Myra Lee, Michaela, Joseph, James and Jacob Conley; Danny, Chris and Cynthia West; Nicholas and Jerome Adams; and 17 great grandchildren.
Funeral services were held at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 17, 2018, at Red Marble Baptist Church with the Revs. Mickey Stewart and Mary Brown officiating. Interment was in the church cemetery with military graveside rites conducted by Andrews VFW Post 7620. Pallbearers were Lynn Conley, Albert Conley, Myra Lee Conley, Michaela Gandy, Joseph Conley, James Conley, Jacob Conley, Danny and Chris West, Cynthia Postell, Nicholas and Jerome Adams.
The family received friends from 2-3:45 p.m. Saturday, March 17, at Red Marble Baptist Church prior to the services.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made in memory of Albert (Buster) Conley to the Red Marble Baptist Church Cemetery Fund, c/o Martha Postell, 1201 Red Marble Road, Andrews, NC 28901.
Ivie Funeral Home, Andrews, was in charge of all arrangements.
An online guest register is available at www.iviefuneralhomeinc.com.