5 year old Eric D. Conway, Calvary Cemetery

Posted on August 26, 2023 by Jennifer Mele under Stories of our Dearly Departed
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From the “Stories of our Dearly Departed” series from Kelly Grimaldi, Historian and Associate Director for Albany Diocesan Cemeteries.

Albany Diocesan Cemeteries’ “Stories of our Dearly Departed” is a series featuring stories and photographs of those who are buried within our 20+ upstate NY cemeteries.

Our hope is that people will enjoy reading about the lives of our community members just as much as we enjoy learning about them from the families we serve and in the information we find throughout our archives. There are so many fascinating stories buried within these Sacred Grounds!

Eric Dennis Conway 4/28/1959—3/9/1965

I (Kelly Grimaldi) receive inquiries about burial locations dozens of times per week and for the most part, they are routine. But occasionally, as was in the case of Ms. Victoria Linden’s request, it ends up in a heart-breaking discovery for me. Ms. Linden asked me to find the burial record for her older brother, Eric Conway who was buried in Calvary Cemetery, Glenmont.  I found the interment card in our files and attached to it was a newspaper article titled: “Elsmere Boy Drowns as Rescue Effort Fails.”  It was among the saddest articles I have ever read.  On a cold day in March of 1965, the life of a little boy was over and all of those bearing witness to the tragedy would never be the same.  Here is Eric’s story.

Submitted by Eric’s sister Vicky (Conway) Linden

“Eric was the oldest and first born to Helen and Benjamin (Ben) Conway.  He of course was their pride and joy!  They said he was a very quick learner and seemed to have a photogenic memory. When Eric was a month shy of 3 years old, their second son Peter was born. When Eric was 2 months shy of 5 years old, a daughter Victoria (Vicky) was born. Now a family of 5, they moved a lot due to Ben’s career.  They lived in Chile for about 2 years and Eric could speak both English and Spanish. He was very bright, loved school, loved church,  loved reading and playing outside.  He was a picky eater, as were all the Conway children.

On March 9, 1965 Eric was attending ½ day kindergarten in the afternoons. He went outside with some other kindergarteners and his brother Peter that morning, while waiting to go to school. They found their way to a pond that Eric went to the day before with his dad.  With the thawing ice, somehow Eric fell through the ice and sadly passed away at 5 years and 11 months.  Helen and Ben, completely shattered, moved to CT later that year for a brand new start.  5 years later they had another son, Douglas (Doug).  Years later, in 2003 Doug named his youngest son Eric Conway.”


Obituary/article – (source unknown)

Elsmere Boy Drowns as Rescue Effort Fails

“An Elsmere boy who would have been six years old next month died shortly before noon yesterday after he was pulled by a neighbor from a thinly-iced farm pond off Kenwood Avenue.

Eric Conway, the eldest of three children of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Conway of 10 Gladwish Avenue, was rushed to Albany Medical Center by the Delmar Rescue Squad but efforts to save his life were unavailing.

Brother’s Cries

The lad was spotted face down and partially submerged in the pond by Mrs. Beatrice Heim of Kenwood Avenue, who waded into the water up to her shoulders to bring the boy to the pond’s edge and give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.  She had been alerted to the tragedy by the boy’s brother Peter, 3, whom she heard crying for his mother near the Heim home.  “Eric’s in the water,” the boy told Mrs. Heim, who raced through a muddy pasture to get to the pond.

As she attempted to breathe air into the lad’s lungs, a driver from the F.H. Patterson Construction Company of Delmar came to give assistance.  He radioed his office, which then contacted Bethlehem Police.  Four cars of policemen sped to the scene with Delmar Rescue Squad.  At least one patrolman continued attempts to revive the lad before the ambulance arrived and he was sped to the hospital.  Emergency room records list the arrival at 11 a.m.

Just a Coat

Mrs. Heim, a young widow who has one child, a six-year-old son, told police all she could see when she arrived at the water’s edge was the lad’s coat.  “The rest of him seemed to be submerged,” she said.

The Conway family moved to Elsmere about a year ago from the New York City area, neighbors said.  Mr. Conway is a consultant with Price-Waterhouse, a New York City accounting firm.  Their home is in a new section of Kenwood Avenue.

Police said the pond is little more than a sunken area in a pasture of the Dunn Farm in which spring waters had accumulated.  A thin crust of ice covered much of the water, although the area around its perimeter had melted.

Coroner Leo Sorel, who was called to the hospital, issued a certificate of accidental death due to drowning.  The Applebee Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements for the funeral.  Services will be held tomorrow at St. Thomas Church in Delmar at 9:30 a.m.  Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery, Glenmont.

Survivors include a 1-year old sister in addition to the boy’s parents and brother.”


Do you have a story of an ancestor and/or loved one buried in one of our cemeteries that would be interesting to highlight in our “Stories of our Dearly Departed” series?

We are looking for stories of those buried within the following 20 cemeteries:

St. Agnes, Menands  •  Most Holy Redeemer, Niskayuna  •  Holy Sepulchre, Rensselaer  •  Our Lady of Angels, Colonie  •  Immaculate Conception and St. Patrick’s in Watervliet  •  Our Lady Help of Christians and Calvary in Glenmont  •  St. Agnes, Cohoes  •  St. Patrick’s, Coeymans  •  St. Anthony’s, Glenville  •  St. Jean de Baptiste, St. John’s, and St. Mary’s in Troy  •  Sts. Cyril & Method and Holy Cross in Rotterdam  •  St. Joseph’s, Waterford  •   St. John the Baptist and St. Mary’s in Schenectady  •   St. Mary’s, Coxsackie

If you have a story to share, contact Kelly at 518-350-7679 or [email protected].

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