1933 – 2021
Thompson, CT – The world lost a legend on August 24, 2021. A man of many names – Conway, Con, CT, Major, Captain Dodge, Dad, Parker, Lucky, and “the ladies’ choice” – died at peace with his devoted wife of 54 years, Linda, by his side.
While he was allegedly the ladies’ choice, there was only one choice for him. A Belgian beauty finally caught the eye of the man who many thought would be a forever bachelor. They met on a commissioned Pan American World Airways flight from Fort Dix, NJ to Madrid, Spain. Conway was the Flight Navigator and Linda was a Flight Attendant. The post cards Conway sent to Linda in the early days of their courtship, which today would have been reduced to a quick text and lost in the nanosphere, reveal that Conway considered Linda his Princess. In those post cards, he often shared brief updates on his worldly adventures, which included some very critical updates, such as “got a haircut in Tokyo” and “had a terrific meal in Frankfurt.” In classic Con fashion, they were married in 1967 at JFK Airport in Our Lady of the Skies Chapel.
Following their marriage, Conway and Linda settled into a home in the small town of Thompson, CT, where they raised four children. The home they created on Vernon Lane was always filled with love, hospitality, and fun. It became the scene of many shenanigans, often involving a motorcycle, a classic Volkswagen Bus, a 1974 AMC Gremlin, polar bear plunge dares, oil changes in the garage, car washes in the driveway, and cookouts on the deck. Good times and lasting memories, period.
Prior to his 25+ year career as a commercial airline pilot for Pan Am, Conway had enlisted in the US Marine Corps, where he flew fighter jets at the tail end of the Korean War. In 1955, he entered the “Mach Buster’s Club” when he broke the sound barrier in a U.S. Navy (Marine Corps) FJ-2 fighter jet. A true patriot, he was always proud of his service to our country and retired with the rank of Major. Following his service, he dabbled in finance as a stockbroker and as a pilot for Cape and Island Airways, where he provided safe travel for the Kennedy family on several occasions. His love of adventure and passion for the airways ultimately led him to a career as a commercial airline pilot with Pan Am, which in the early 1960s was a prestigious and highly-selective profession. He retired from Pan Am as a Captain in 1991.
Conway was a devout Roman Catholic who attended mass almost daily. One of his favorite sayings was: “There are givers, and there are takers. Be a giver.” He led by example and performed acts of kindness for those in need, but rarely talked about what he did, or for whom. While we know he touched many lives, we don’t know the full scope of the impact he made.
Conway is survived by a large family who loved and respected him greatly. This includes his wife Linda (VanDamme) Dodge; his children Gabrielle Boisvert and her husband Marc of West Hartford, CT, Conway T. Dodge, Jr. and his wife Katie of Falls Church, VA, Daniel D. Dodge and his wife Nicole of Westport, CT, Benjamin F. Dodge and his wife Vicki of Smithfield, RI, and; his siblings Ogden Dodge of Barrington, RI, Raymond Dodge of Holden, MA, Nancy Fistori of Mattapoisett, MA, Priscilla Hesford of Ivy, VA, and Susan Dentch of Northborough, MA. “Parker” will be remembered by his ten grandchildren as the world’s best story and joke teller. Jackson, Sophie, Conway, III, Elizabeth, Maeve, Henry, Wyatt, Emerson, Sam, and Ella will miss his wit and movie star qualities.
Conway’s family would like to thank the staff, especially Liz Ponzi, at Wesview Nursing Home. A Celebration of Life will take place later this year. In lieu of flowers or donations, please consider donating blood to your local blood bank or local American Red Cross location.
Services have been entrusted to the Gilman Funeral Home & Crematory, 104 Church St., Putnam, CT 06260. For memorial guestbook please visit www.GilmanAndValade.com.