Plane accident shakes town

From the Mancos Times issue of Nov. 5, 1964.

"Mancos suffered a most severe loss in the airplane accident last week that took the lives of four men. Each in his own way, Kenneth Wallace and Cyril Conway leave a void in this town that will be impossible to fill.

"The virtues and merits of these men need not be extolled by this writer. They are etched indelibly in the hearts of all who knew them. Kenny spent the best parts of his life here and spent those years in the service of his community. Cyril, in the short time that he was here, did more for the community through the schools than most men do in a lifetime.

"As we said before, we need not, we cannot properly depict the quality of these men in this short space. We can only urge the people of this town to long remember the marks they left on this community and humbly hope we can do as well.

"It is the opinion of this newspaper that as a tribute to Cyril Conway, who conceived the idea of the proposed Vocational School nearly a year ago, and through whose tireless efforts the School is rapidly becoming a reality, that the School should be named the Cyril K. Conway Memorial School."

Cyril was not only the superintendent of the Mancos schools but was also father to a good number of children. Harry Halls took Cyril's son Shaun under his shoulder and was responsible for the later success of Shaun. Roberta, Cyril's wife, had it tough for decades.

Kenneth Wallace, at the age of 55, was the oldest man aboard the airplane. Kenneth married his sweetheart Geraldine. She was well known for being an operator for Mountain Bell for many years.

The Mancos branch of Mountain Bell was located in a fairly large building just to the west of the Opera House.

I remember going inside and watching the girls and ladies make connections for the various telephone calls. Ruth Ann Cox, who was in my class at school, was one of the many operators.

Geraldine was also the Mancos town clerk for 25 years. She passed away in 1991 at the age of 87.

Darrel Ellis is a longtime historian of the Mancos Valley. Email him at dnrls@q.com.