The Rev. John D. Whitney presided over the funeral service for Molly Conley on Saturday, June 8. Nearly 2,000 mourners attended. Photo by Gwen Davis
Nearly 2,000 people attended the funeral of Magnolia resident Mary Clare “Molly” Conley on Saturday, June 8, at Bishop Blanchet High School gymnasium. The 15-year-old, straight-A freshman at Blanchet was killed in an apparent drive-by shooting on June 1, a day after her 15th birthday, as she and several classmates were walking on a road in Lake Stevens. Police have not identified suspects at this time.
The Rev. John D. Whitney led the service.
“I am amazed at this young woman and all that she was,” he said as it began. “On a day like today that is so touched by our fears and touched by our own mortality we can emphasize, ‘Oh, my gosh, this was such a short time that she lived.’ But we shouldn’t think of all that wasn’t but all that was.”
Conley’s cousins and friends attended, including the lacrosse, soccer and junior-varsity football teams, dressed in uniform. The Tara Irish Dancers helped guide her casket through the gym at the end of the service.
“This person knew how to live and love, and live every moment of her life,” Whitney said. “I’ve been to a room illuminated by Molly and by her life, illuminated by the gifts and graces she has received.”
Her death, while tragic, should also be a source of inspiration, he said: “We should not dismiss her life as too short, but we should emulate her life as wondrous and grand. She wasn’t trapped in the past or fearful of the future but lived in the moment. That was the grace of Molly.”
Conley’s father, John, described Molly’s passion for sports. He said he and Molly had gone to the Blanchet gym just the week prior, and that it was only fitting that their journey together end here in the same room.
The funeral took place at the school instead of a church at the family’s request because of their strong connection with the Blanchet High School community.
“Molly’s one of those rare individuals that effortlessly fills a room. She found a way to transcend so many barriers with wit, sarcasm, a vivacious spirit. Molly’s physical presence will no longer be, but she is in this room right now. It may be hard to feel now with the grief so raw, but I know that it’s here,” John Conley said.
Molly Conley’s 16-year-old brother, Johnny, a sophomore at Blanchet, told three stories to illustrate Molly’s “fierce loyalty, toughness and love.”
The loyalty is shown in her willingness to Army crawl through mud and pouring rain with him back to their house, just because it would be fun.
“That’s Molly,” he said. “She’s the type of person where if you’re dragging your face through the mud, she’ll be right there with you.”
Her toughness was demonstrated in her ability to “sacrifice her body” every time she was out on the field to play sports, he said: “Molly was tough, and as her big brother, I like to think I helped instill that toughness.”
Furthermore, Molly’s love for others was outstanding.
“A good example is the foster kids we had,” he said. “My mom usually took care of them, but some nights my mom needed to sleep, so Molly would stay up all night with the kids.… She was utterly selfless in how she loved.
“And that’s what we can take away from all this,” he said. “If you love someone, tell them that, but more than just with words. If you love someone you need to show your love like Molly showed her love every single day.
“When you leave here today, take that knowledge that love is all you can give sometimes, and it’s the greatest thing you can give,” he concluded. “Molly gave it every single day of her life.”
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