Don Conry and his sister Kathleen Conry teamed together to serve others with the Logan County Council for Aging.

Story and photo by Van Mitchell, Staff Writer

Don Conry and his sister Kathleen Conry have both been involved in serving others, but had done so from different cities.
Don, 80, had been involved with Mobile Meals in Dallas, and Kathleen, 77, was involved with her church in Manhattan, New York.
For the past three months, the siblings teamed together to serve meals for the Logan County Council on Aging in Guthrie.
Logan County Council on Aging is a non-profit organization that assists the Logan County Aging Service with funds for home-bound meals and bus purchases for its transportation program.
“I was involved in the Meals on Wheels in Dallas, not as much as I am today, but one or two times a week for maybe half a year,” Don said. “And when we moved up here to Guthrie, I would always bring my dog over here to Highland Park to walk. One day I saw the (Logan County Council on Aging) building and I came in and I found out they were doing Meals on Wheels. And I said, “Do you need any help? They said, “Yes, can you come one day a week?” Now, I do it five days a week because they’re really hurting for volunteers.”
Kathleen added “I’m a member of a church there, which is where I started doing a lot of volunteer work through our winter clothing closet and other kinds of missions for people in Manhattan. When Don and (wife) Lawana moved here, it was the obvious place to come visit when I got tired of New York. So, that’s happened a few times, and I’ve been here for three months this stint. That’s why we teamed up to do the weekly runs to all of our clients here for Logan County Council on Aging, which is great.”
Kathleen and Don grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where their father was a surgeon and an obstetrician, and their mother was a tap dancer. Their parents had five children.
“They met under extraordinary circumstances in Nebraska,” Kathleen said. “He was from Iowa; she was from Cleveland. She happened to be there and he happened to be going to medical school. There was this terrible accident. My mother was in the hospital and he was the attending surgeon in the ER. That’s how they met, fell in love, and nature took over.”
Don graduated college from Miami of Ohio with a business degree. He was also a member of the Navy ROTC. He is a Vietnam War veteran.
“I got a commission when I graduated and went back to Cleveland after I got out of college,” he said. “I got my orders, and they shipped me over to the Philippines, and got aboard my ship off the coast of Vietnam. I was in the Vietnam War (serving) in communications.”
After the war, Don returned to Cleveland, and got a job with Polaroid Corporation, where he worked for 15 years. His first posting was in Oklahoma City.
“This was my first job assignment. They sent me to be the Polaroid rep for the whole state of Oklahoma, and the panhandle of Texas, and a little bit of Arkansas,” he said. “I was the Polaroid rep here for five years, and married my wife, Lawana, who’s from Ardmore. And, then when I was transferred to Dallas. We lived for about 49 years in the same house in Plano, Texas.”
Don and his wife moved to Guthrie to be closer to their niece and her family.
“About four years ago, we found a house here that we liked,” he said. “We have a niece named Robin who has lived here for about seven or eight years, and she always wanted us to move up. We wanted to have a relative that could be close to us as we get older.”
Kathleen graduated from high school in 1966. She said her parents instilled the importance of music/theater in their children.
“I sort of got the mantle,” she said. “I went to ballet class when I was five. Tap class, jazz class, piano lessons. Don is a really good pianist. We have a lot of musical background.”
Kathleen said the allure of theater moved her to New York City.
“By the time I graduated from high school, I didn’t consider myself a good enough student to last through college, but I knew I had enough experience and had skills, I had a skill set for musical theater to go to Broadway,” she said. “I moved to New York in 1966 and I was on Broadway in 1968, did two Broadway shows, and hundreds of other shows. I then became a choreographer and a director. I retired 14 years ago. I still live in New York City. I have stayed in theater my whole life, even in retirement, I stay involved by doing a lot of mentoring.”
Kathleen and Don grew up in a Cleveland neighborhood called Clifton Park, that included residents Vernon Stouffer, owner of Stouffer’s, and members of the Glidden (Paint) family.
The siblings later moved to an upscale apartment complex called “the Winton Place,” where one of their neighbors was George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees.
“He was always extremely kind and just gracious,” Kathleen said.
Don and Kathleen said that they are doing more than just delivering meals. They are helping others, which is a lesson they learned from their parents.
“This is a wonderful ministry,” Don said. “So many people need help and they need to engage with somebody every day. Kathy and I do more than just delivering meals. We meet people that have needs, and we try to help them.”
Kathleen concurred.
“I think we learned from our parents post-World War II and being raised in an upper middle class neighborhood that you can’t just enjoy success. If you have any kind of good health, monetary success or career success, you have to give back. If you don’t give back, it’s kind of a waste of your energy.”