November 1934 ~ May 2022
Mildred (Millie) Adela Conolley was born in Chicago, Illinois on November 2, 1934 to Czechoslovakian immigrants, Adolf and Marie Nosek. She had two older brothers, Henry and Stanley. Shortly after her birth, the family moved to San Diego where she spent most of her childhood. When her older brother Henry was stationed in Texas, Millie moved to live with him and graduated from North East High School in San Antonio. Then she came back to California when Henry was relocated and lived in Oakland. After a short marriage she met Ed Conolley and remarried, each of them bringing a daughter from a previous marriage. Two more children were added to the family. Millie leaves behind her four children, Lynne Kramm (Gordon), Pamela Freeman (Felix), Patrick Conolley and Colleen Lane, as well as 13 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren and 1 great great grandchild.
Millie was very involved with her children’s activities, being a Girl Scout Leader, softball coach, 4-H sewing leader, homeroom mother, helping with Y Indian Guides, and was always there to help with numerous activities! For herself, she enjoyed bowling and vegetable gardens, and going on family fishing trips and vacations to Santa Cruz and Yosemite. Millie was a great cook, baker and seamstress. Other hobbies included doing ceramics and embroidery. In 1974, Ed and Millie moved to Hilmar, California where Ed’s brother and sister already resided with their families. Although her family was everything, there was another part of Millie’s life that gave her great satisfaction. With the kids grown and out of the house, Millie held a couple jobs as secretary and housecleaning, but when her husband Ed was diagnosed with cancer, she chose to quit her jobs and stay home to care for Ed. Millie felt that they needed something to occupy their time and it was to no one’s surprise what they chose to do. They started to take in used toys, bikes and trikes to refurbish and give out to children at Christmas. They entered the “Make a Difference Day” contest and were runners up receiving $2,000 of which they donated to their two local elementary schools. In 1997, Millie and Ed were chosen as Hilmar’s “Citizen of the Year.” Millie took a year off refurbishing toys when Ed passed away in 2001, but quickly got back into her Toy Project, which expanded to collecting clothes and other things whenever she heard of a family in need.
In 2015, Millie moved into an assisted living facility and eventually moved into a skilled nursing facility where she passed away peacefully on May 15, 2022 at the age of 87. Millie touched so many hearts with her kindness and generosity. She was always helping others and she gave so freely with a smile that will never be forgotten~