Daniel Paul Konkey of Holy Cross Village in Notre Dame, Indiana died peacefully in the early morning of Friday, June 19, 2020. Formerly of Niles, Michigan, Dan was a caring, loyal, and strong-willed man who achieved many great things over his ninety-two years. For those who knew Dan he was the model of a life well-lived. He will be missed dearly by the many family and friends who loved and cared about him over his long, happy, and fruitful life.
Dan was born on June 24, 1927 in Chicago Heights, Illinois, to Anthony and Anna Konkey (née Neubauer). Following the growth of the railroads, Dan’s family settled in Niles when he was a young child. One of nine children, the Konkeys learned hard work and discipline from an early age.
As the United States entered World War II, many young men were called to serve – and the Konkeys were no exception. Dan saw two of his brothers, John and Joseph, drafted into the United States Army. At the age of seventeen, Dan enlisted in the United States Merchant Marines, where he bravely supported the war effort by delivering vital munitions around the globe – often under direct threat from German U-Boats. Notably, Dan was serving on Okinawa on V-J Day. After World War II, Dan continued to sail on merchant ships around the world with Gulf Oil, sailing to Venezuela and other parts of Central and South America. Years later, Dan was again called to serve his country, this time in Korea. As a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army, Dan served his country dutifully and proudly, and received several citations and honors for his service.
Following his time in the military and aboard merchant ships, Dan returned to Niles intent on continuing his education. He began working at Falvey’s Men’s Store to earn money to get him through then-Ferris Institute (now Ferris State University), from which he would go on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. During the Christmas season of 1954, he met former Miss Niles, Carmella Frucci, who came into Falvey’s to do her holiday shopping. It was love at first sight, and the two were married on July 26, 1958 at Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Niles.
Dan and Carmella enjoyed 58 happy and loving years of marriage, during which time they worked hard to provide for their children and grandchildren. After a brief move to San Francisco to work for Mercedes-Benz, Dan and Carmella returned to Niles, where he worked for Simplicity Pattern for twenty years. Dan built the family a home in the immigrant neighborhood of Dickereel north of Lake Street in Niles, across from the house in which Carmella was born. Building this home was one of Dan’s proudest accomplishments, and the house quickly became a warm and inviting place that was cherished by generations of family and friends. An avid pilot, Dan also was the owner of a private plane and served as the manager of Jerry Tyler Memorial Airport in Niles for many years.
In his retirement, Dan was a vocal fan of his grandchildren’s high school and collegiate athletics, a meticulous gardener, and a staunch supporter of the University of Notre Dame. He traveled extensively with both family and friends, visiting nearly all fifty states and many countries around the world. As a parishioner at Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Niles, and as a Fourth Degree Member of the Knights of Columbus, Dan was a deeply religious man whose life was firmly rooted in faith and charitable service.
Dan is survived by his daughter, Linda (Dr. Frank) Downey of Scottsdale, Arizona and son David (Angel) Konkey of South Bend, Indiana; grandchildren Patrick Downey, Catherine Downey, Christina (Ryan) Vidrine, Matthew (Kyla) Konkey, Nicole Konkey, Sarah Konkey, and Mia Konkey; and great-grandson Jonathan Vidrine. He deeply loved and was very proud of his family. Dan is also survived by his siblings Anthony Konkey of Saint Joseph, Michigan, Elizabeth Kiell of Niles, Michigan, and David (Fern) Konkey of Niles, Michigan; and many nieces and nephews. Dan’s family is grateful to Holy Cross Village in Notre Dame, Indiana, for the care and support that they provided Dan over the course of the past year.
Dan was preceded in death by his beloved wife Carmella; his parents Anthony and Anna Konkey; brothers, Thomas Konkey, John Konkey, and Joseph Konkey; and sisters, Marie Anderson, and Charlotte Burdue.
The immediate family will pray the rosary at 10:30 a.m. and attend the Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, June 29, 2020 at Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Niles. The Celebrant will be Rev. Christian Johnston, assisted by Deacon Roger Gregorski. Committal Rites will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Niles and will conclude with the Veteran’s Flag Presentation and Taps by the United States Army Honor Guard. Relatives, neighbors, and friends are invited to participate in the ceremonies via livestreamed broadcast available on the Halbritter-Wickens Facebook page. Contributions in memory of Dan may be made to Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception Parish via check or online. Donations are also being accepted to Saint Mary’s School, via check or online. Online condolences may be left at www.halbritterwickens.com.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7.
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