City Council Remembers Conway, Former HHS Football Player Who Signed with Buffalo Bills

Daniel A. Conway Jr., wearing his varsity letter sweater; his father, Daniel; and two older brothers Mike and Pat—all four were all-scholastic football players. (Courtesy photograph presented during a Haverhill City Council meeting.)

Services and a celebration of life are planned for Haverhill High School Sports Hall of Famer Daniel A. Conway Jr. who died Dec.7 at age 65.

Conway, a graduate from the Haverhill High School class of 1976, signed a free agent contract with the Buffalo Bills after college, but he lost one eye in a practice mishap which ended his chance to play. Haverhill City Council Vice President John A. Michitson recently honored his friend, saying Conway helped shape him.

“Former teammates remembered that Dan was hilarious during the Haverhill High School Football team meetings. For me personally, I am indebted to the encouragement he gave me as a boy playing sports—win or lose,” he said.

Before calling for a moment of silence at a City Council meeting, Michitson gave a brief history of Conway’s athletic prowess.

“As far as his athletic success, it was unmatched during our generation. He was a Boston Globe and Boston Herald all scholastic running back for Haverhill High School in 1976 and ran for over 2,000 yards and scored 21 touchdowns at Boston College where he was a star. He signed a free agent contract with the Buffalo Bills, but an eye injury ended his chance to play in the NFL,” he said.

Michitson quoted classmate Vincent Ouellette as saying, “He was never a ‘Here I Am Guy,’ but always a ‘There You Are Guy!’ There could be 100 people in the room and he would make conversation with each and every one!”

Michitson, a part of the Haverhill High School class of 1977, told WHAV he looked up to Conway after meeting him while playing in the Riverside Bradford Little League. They both later played center in the Boys Club Basketball League and played against each other many times. He said he knew “back then that Dan was not only a great kid, but that he was ‘going places’ in sports.”

Years later, Michitson remembered, “Many decades later he would offer me encouragement in politics, win or lose, from San Diego.”

According to his obituary, Conway died following a failed lung transplant. He was born Aug. 14, 1958, the youngest of Lillian and Daniel Conway’s five children. Besides football, he was described as a stellar athlete in baseball, basketball and track.

He leaves his wife of 32 years, Pattie; children, Dan, Thad, Taylor and their spouses; six grandchildren, Teagan, T.J., Jessie James, Joelle, Sage, baby Haven; and his four siblings, Mike, Pat, Susan, Sheilah and their spouses.

Two services are planned. The first takes place Saturday, Jan. 13, at noon, with a short mass by Monsignor Richard Duncanson at Church of the Nativity in Rancho Santa Fe, California, followed by a Celebration of Life nearby at La Valle Coastal Club. A second Celebration of Life is planned this spring in Haverhill. For more information, email Joshua Beekman at [email protected].

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