A memorial service is planned Sept. 16 in Omaha for Eugene A. Conley, a former Omaha insurance executive.
The 87-year-old retired as chairman and CEO of Guarantee Mutual Life Insurance Co., now part of Lincoln Financial Group. He died Aug. 23 at his home in Carmel, Calif., after a brief illness, said son John Conley of Omaha.
Gene Conley moved to Omaha in 1972 to be president of Guarantee Mutual. The insurance executive had a 24-year career with American Mutual Life in Ashland, Neb., Lincoln and Des Moines before joining the Omaha company.
Bob Bates of Omaha succeeded Conley as CEO of Guarantee Mutual.
“He was a tough act to follow,” Bates said. “We developed a great friendship.
“Gene was a man of great depth of character and integrity, and all of that showed through in our company. Just being around Gene was uplifting.”
As a community leader, Conley headed the United Way and the boards of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, University of Nebraska Foundation, former Clarkson Hospital, Methodist Hospital and Goodwill Industries.
He started a program with Goodwill to create more job opportunities for disabled persons, his son said.
Gene Conley served on the board of governors of Nebraska Wesleyan and Southern Methodist Universities, as well as on the boards of the Henry Doorly Zoo and the Nebraska Region of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.
“It's clear that he was interested in the well-being of the community,” John Conley said. “People do remember his leadership, courage, fairness and subtle sense of humor.”
Gene Conley also served on several corporate boards, his son said, including Otoe County Bank, where Gene had saved his earnings as a teen.
In the 1990s, Gene Conley was appointed a civilian aide to the secretary of the Army and former Strategic Air Command (now the U.S. Strategic Command) Consultation Committee.
He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
He was a councillor and then a governor for the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben.
Gene Conley and his wife, Emma Grace, traveled extensively around the world.
“They traveled by virtually every means possible,” their son said. “They really did have a wonderful life together.”
Gene Conley was born and raised in Nebraska City. He was class president three out of his four years at Nebraska City High School.
“He didn't run the fourth year because he wanted someone else to have it,” his son said.
Gene Conley enlisted in the Navy and was an aviator at the end of World War II and after it. He graduated from the University of Nebraska with a degree in business administration.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 52 years.
Besides his son, other survivors include children Dr. Tom Conley of Austin, Texas, Roger Conley of Chevy Chase, Md., and Dr. Sue Conley of Middleton, Wis.; and six grandchildren.
The Omaha memorial service will begin at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 16 at St. Paul United Methodist Church, 5410 Corby St.