Frank Conaway Sr.
(Updated 2/15/2015) Frank Conaway Sr., a veritable legend in Baltimore City life and politics, passed away unexpectedly Saturday night, various sources have confirmed to the AFRO. He was 81.
Born in Baltimore in 1933, Conaway served two stints in the Maryland House of Delegates, from 1971-75, and again from 1979-83, according to the Maryland state website. Conaway has served as the clerk of the Baltimore City Circuit Court since 1998.
He was also the first African American to be named a manager for Prudential Insurance in Baltimore, according to Tessa Hill-Aston, president of the Baltimore City NAACP and the first African-American woman to serve in the same role for Prudential, years after Conaway had broken down that barrier for Black insurance professionals.
Conaway founded an organization for Black insurance agents in the ‘80s, of which Hill-Aston, who referred to Conaway as a mentor, was a member.
“We worked together for economic development in Baltimore City, so it’s been really a blessing to have someone like him as a leader,” said Hill-Aston. “I went down to Annapolis a lot when he was a delegate and when he was in charge of the Black caucus, and he was a great leader and an advocate.”
Hill-Aston, who said she has been in contact with the family since Conaway’s sudden and unexpected passing, also spent last Wednesday with him.
“He was just delightful as ever and still talking about things he was going to do down the road, and politics, and being an advocate for people, so it’s a truly great loss and he was such an inspiration to the Black community,” said Hill-Aston, who called Conaway “a giant in our community.”
Del. Cory McCray (D-Baltimore City) told the AFRO, “Frank Conaway Sr.’s passing is a huge loss for the Baltimore community. His dedication and commitment to public service will truly be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family as we celebrate the life of such a great leader who continuously stood with the citizens of Baltimore.”
Del. Cheryl Glenn (D-Baltimore City), second vice chair of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus, remembers a man who had the courage of his convictions and who fought hard for what he believed in.
“Frank Conaway Sr. had a long record of activism—and in Maryland politics, and in Baltimore City politics. And he certainly leaves a legacy in the world of politics with his children: his son, Del. Frank Conaway Jr. and his daughter, Register of Wills for Baltimore City Belinda Conaway,” said Glenn, adding, “Baltimore City politics will surely miss him.”
Del. Antonio Hayes (D-Baltimore City) echoed Glenn’s sentiment, saying “Frank Conaway Sr.’s commitment to public service inspired his family to be of service to our city.”
On Twitter, Baltimore City Council President Jack Young wrote, in part, “I’m completely heartbroken and at a loss for words. Frank Sr. was one of a kind.”
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake also issued a statement, saying Conaway Sr. “redefined what was possible for generations of African Americans in Baltimore. . . . Baltimore is stronger today thanks to his decades of selfless service.”
Homegoing services for Frank M. Conaway Sr.:
Public Viewing: 4-8 p.m., Feb. 20 at Vaughn Greene Funeral Home, 5151 Baltimore National Pike, followed by;
Wake: 10 a.m, and;
Funeral: 11 a.m., Feb. 23 at Morgan State University Murphy Fine Arts Center, 2201 Argonne Drive.