homepage logo

Francis S. Conway, M.D.


Sep 9, 2020

A Mass of Christian Burial for Dr. Francis S. Conway of Emmetsburg was held Saturday, Sept. 5, at Holy Family Catholic Church in Emmetsburg. Celebrant was the Rev. Bill Schreiber.

Inurnment was in St. John’s Catholic Cemetery, Emmetsburg. The Martin-Mattice Funeral Home in Emmetsburg was in charge of arrangements.

Francis S. Conway, M.D., passed into eternal life on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. He was born Sept. 28, 1932, the son of Paul and Anna (Phillips) Conway. Francis graduated from Manilla High School in 1950 and Loras College in 1954. He was then accepted into the University of Iowa Medical School, where he graduated with honors.

During medical school, Francis applied for and was granted a scholarship and commission as an officer in the United States Air Force, an honor bestowed upon only 2-percent of all physicians that applied nationally. Upon graduation, his first residency was at Scott Air Force Base, Belleville, IL. There was little time for initiation during his first year of residency, as he once delivered 32 babies in one weekend during the “baby boom” years.

Francis married Mary Margaret (“Mick”) Fagan on Sept. 16, 1956, in Amboy, IL. They started a family and later moved to Emmetsburg in 1963, where Francis established his medical practice.

Throughout his 50 years of practice, “Doc” was best known for his extraordinary diagnostic skills. He was also a skilled surgeon who once re-attached three severed fingers of a man who showed up unannounced at the family’s front door during supper (the fingers later worked fine). Aside from the basics of setting broken bones, removing tonsils, and performing emergency appendectomies, he also had a special procedure for pulling fish hooks from the heads of not-so-skilled fisherman.

After several years of general practice, Doc completed a residency in psychiatry, fulfilling a much-needed demand for psychiatrists in Northwest Iowa. Naturally, he found a niche and again formed many life-long bonds with his patients. Doc was a man of quiet compassion who practiced in an era of house calls, late night and early morning hospital rounds, and accepting patients regardless of their ability to pay.

Among Doc’s many hobbies, he was a private pilot, tireless gardener (especially tomatoes), a fan of anything related to Manilla (which was basically everything), and he loved to restore guns of any kind, especially his favorite, the M1 Garand. Above all, Francis and Mick always focused on faith and family. They built their beloved “Lake House” in 1989, creating a lasting legacy for generations that follow.

Francis is survived by his children, Sara (Joseph) Zimmermann, Susan (John) Joynt, Mark (Mary) Conway, John (Jackie) Conway, and Kathy Conway (Teri Link); grandchildren Patrick, Paul, Steven, MaryClare, and Emily Zimmermann, Jenny Reicks, Abby LeVasseur, Ryan Joynt, Molly Schulte, Katie Sorbe, Jack Conway, Tove Wihlm, George Conway, Thomas, Dan, Emmet and Ed Kor-dell; and his brother Kenneth Conway.

Francis was preceded in death by his parents; his wife Mick; his siblings Elaine Murphy and Mark Conway; and his grandson Andy Conway.

The family wishes to thank the staff at Lakeside Lutheran Home for their kindness and the excellent care they provided to Doc and Mick.

Memorials may be directed to the family at 207 State St., Emmetsburg, with all proceeds to benefit the staff and mission of Lakeside.

Condolences can be left at