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Frank Conroy

Birthdate: (69)
Birthplace: New York, New York, New York, United States
Death: April 6, 2005 (69)
Iowa City, Johnson, Iowa, United States (Colon cancer)
Place of Burial: Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Philip Conroy and Helga Trudeau
Ex-husband of <private> Ferguson

Occupation: Author, Director of the Iowa Writer's Workshop
Managed by: Erica Howton
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Frank Conroy

Frank Conroy (January 15, 1936 – April 6, 2005) was an American author, born in New York, New York to an American father and a Danish mother. He published five books, including the highly acclaimed memoir Stop-Time, published in 1967, which ultimately made Conroy a noted figure in the literary world. The book was nominated for the National Book Award.  Conroy graduated from Haverford College, and was director of the influential Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa for 18 years, from 1987 until 2005, where he was also F. Wendell Miller Professor. He was previously the director of the literature program at the National Endowment for the Arts from 1982 to 1987.

"Frank talked a kind of jazz vernacular that would have been an affectation except it was real.". (David Halberstam)

Mr. Conroy was a good enough pool player to have once run the table twice, and, though self-taught, a good enough pianist to have jammed with Charles Mingus. In his 2002 essay collection "Dogs Bark, but the Caravan Rolls On," Mr. Conroy recalled how he once apologized to Mingus for being a klutz. "You are an authentic primitive," Mingus said. "That is true. But you also swing."


Frank Conroy was born in New York City on Jan. 15, 1936. His father, Philip, left his wife and two children when Mr. Conroy was a child and moved in and out of mental institutions. Mr. Conroy grew up with his mother, Helga, a Danish immigrant, and a stepfather, Guy Trudeau, who was self-absorbed and full of impractical schemes. 

After the breakup of his first marriage, to Patty Ferguson, he moved to Nantucket, where he continued to play piano in various night spots and also worked as a scallop fisherman. Mr. Conroy is survived by two sons from that marriage, Daniel Hand, of Ashland, Mass., and Will Christian, of Tucson, Ariz. He is also survived by his first and second wives; another son, Timothy Peabody, of Iowa City; a sister, Ellen Conroy Kennedy, of Columbia Md.; a half-sister, India Trudeau, of Nantucket; an aunt, Hanne Skov, of New York City; and four grandchildren.


  2. Conroy, Will. Tucson's Arizona Inn. Tucson, Ariz: Arizona Inn, 2010. Print.  Page 24.
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Frank Conroy's Timeline

January 15, 1936
New York, New York, New York, United States
April 6, 2005
Age 69
Iowa City, Johnson, Iowa, United States
April 2005
Age 69
Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States