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Valley Ray Conley

Jan. 21, 1932-April 14, 2011

Former Detroit Lakes resident Valley Ray Conley, 79, died Thursday, April 14, 2011 at his winter home in Indio, Calif., under the care of hospice, after a short battle from complications with the recovery from stomach cancer.

Val was born to Howard and Rena (McDougall) Conley on January 21, 1932, in a small house on 2nd Street in Fargo. He attended school in Moorhead until 1947, and finished high school at Detroit Lakes in 1950.

After two years at Moorhead State University, he enlisted in the American Paratroopers 11th Airborne Division. He earned a Jumpmasters degree and qualified as a Jumpmaster Instructor. Val was released in May 1955 and enrolled and graduated from Dental School at the University of Minnesota in 1960.

In 1953 Val married Joan Winjum. They moved to Langdon, N.D., where Val practiced dentistry from 1960 to 1966.

Val moved to Fargo in 1966, and continued to practice dentistry until retirement on June 30, 2009. He enjoyed his work and loved being around his great staff.

On March 19, 1998 he married Patricia Anderson, who was his caretaker, helpmate and best friend.

Preceding Val in death were his parents; brother Howard; son Blake Kragness; and Joan Conley.

Surviving Val are his wife Patricia of Detroit Lakes; his children, Steven (Nancy) of Alexandria, Kelly (Brian) Engstrom of St. Michael, Minn., Craig (Darlene) of Hawley, Sarah Kragness and Brooke Kragness, both of Tempe, Ariz.; a brother, Wayne (Helen) of Detroit Lakes; sister, Barbara (Peter) Koshowski of Detroit Lakes; and grandchildren Cassie Mitchell, Cory Conley, Chris Conley, Steve Conley, Britian Conley, Matthew Engstrom, Megan Doyle and Phillip Doyle.

A memorial service is planned for May, to be held in Fargo.