Carl Calvin Conley


Carl Calvin Conley, of Austin, a former Texas Legislator, County District Attorney from South Texas, and member of University United Methodist Church, passed away Dec. 30, 2010, at the age of 90. He was born Oct. 2, 1920, in Frederick, Okla. His parents, Dr. and Mrs. Charles Calvin Conley, and sisters, Billie Conley Pickard and Betty Conley Mann, predeceased him.


y is survived by his wife Merle Willhoite Conley of Austin and their four daughters: Camille (Clay) Cipione, of Austin, Cathy (David) Swofford, of Austin, Claire (Bill) Selman, of Lockhart, and Carla Haynes, of Raymondville. A son-in-law, Kenneth Mark Haynes preceded him in death. Conley is also survived by his grandchildren: Suzanne, Marie Claire, Monique and Jennifer Huff; Wade and Will Swofford; Wes and Jill Selman; Colleen (Bill) Lang, Catherine (Brent) Bauer; and great-grandchildren: Haynes, Adelaide and Kenneth Bauer; and Caroline Conley Lang. He is also survived by his sisters-in-law, Mrs. James D. McKinney and Mrs. Warren A. Willhoite, and numerous nephews, nieces and other relatives.

Conley was elected to the Texas House of Representatives and served during the 55th and 56th Texas Legislatures. He was Chairman of the Insurance Committee and Vice Chair of the Investigating Committee and a member of the House Committees on Banking, Oil and Gas, Labor, Agriculture, State Affairs and Criminal Jurisprudence. Conley was elected to the Texas House by voters in Willacy and Cameron counties, who also elected him to serve two terms as County District Attorney.

Carl Conley was awarded the Purple Heart for his heroic efforts in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II while serving in General Patton’s 3rd Army. He voluntarily enlisted and served with the 80th Infantry, 317th Regiment.

Conley’s life came full circle when he and his wife returned to Austin six years ago from their ranch in Raymondville, Texas. It was in Austin where Conley received his law degree in 1950 from the University of Texas School of Law. He was a Dean Keeton Fellow at the University of Texas Austin (Charter Member), a member of the University of Texas System Chancellor’s Council and a member of the Board of Regents for Pan American University now known as the University of Texas Pan American.

Conley attended Texas A&M University, Queen’s University in Ireland, The George Washington University and the University of Texas School of Law. Some of his fondest memories were of Ireland where he watched the Irish Parliament, instilling in him a love for the law. He worked for the FBI in Washington, D.C., and spent two years in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, working as a State Attaché in the US Embassy. He practiced law in Raymondville, Texas, for more than 50 years where he was also a rancher and farmer.

Conley was a member of the Sigma Nu Fraternity where he held many leadership positions. He was on the Board of Directors for several organizations including the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Raymondville Bank of Texas, Raymondville Historical and Community Center, Raymondville Chamber of Commerce, and past president of the Rio Grande Valley Girl Scout Council. He was a member of Austin Downtown Founder Lions Club. As a member of First United Methodist Church Raymondville, he served as lay speaker and lay delegate to the Methodist Church’s annual Southwest Conference for many years.

In addition to his faith, family and his law practice, Conley loved his horses, cattle, and farming. His weekdays were busy in the courtroom, but his weekends were dedicated to polo, rounding up cattle and checking on his crops. He raised Santa Gertrudis and Brahman cattle, along with Lincoln Red his father selected and imported from England and Charolais from France. Conley had some of the world’s finest polo ponies and played polo with a passion for more than a decade.

Visitation was held on Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011, at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, in Austin, Texas. Funeral services were Monday, Jan. 3, 2011, at 1:30 p.m. at the University United Methodist Church, 2409 Guadalupe in Austin with the Reverend Bernie Sandberg officiating and Judge Paul Pressler providing the eulogy. A reception followed the burial with Military Honors at the Texas State Cemetery, 909 Navasota Street, Austin. The family would like to thank Westminster Manor for having provided exceptional care. Memorial contributions may be made to the University United Methodist Church in Austin or to the charity of one’s choice.

Pallbearers were Dr. Brent Bauer, Bill Lang, David Pierson, Wes Selman, Wade Swofford and Will Swofford.

Honorary pallbearers were Ben Barnes, Coy Cisneros, J. W. Cooper, Dr. Marshall Pickard, William Redel, Robert Schwarz, George Shelley, Stanley Woods, and Ashley Youngblood.

Obituary and memorial guestbook available online at

Arrangements by Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 3125 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, Texas 78705. (512) 452-8811.


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