Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has ordered that the United States of America flag and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts flag be lowered to half-staff from sunrise until sunset at all state buildings on Monday, July 11, the day of interment, in honor of Massachusetts Army National Guard Colonel Brett Patrick Conaway, of Natick, who passed away on June 29.
Colonel Conaway, Massachusetts Army National Guard, HHD Joint Forces Headquarters, will be laid to rest in a private ceremony with military honors at St. Patrick’s Cemetery.
A Celebration of Conaway’s Life will take place on Monday, July 11 at 4pm in the Natick High School Auditorium, 15 West Street, Natick. The family asks that attendees wear red, white, or blue or a hint of these colors.
He was born in Boston, MA, to Pat and Jane Conaway on January 21, 1970, and raised in Natick, MA. Growing up, Brett was a scout, played baseball, basketball, and football, and spent much time with his beloved Carney family aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. His childhood included multiple adventures, including many trips across the country to see his extended and inspiring Conaway clan. His family was everything to him. A proud graduate of Natick High School in 1988, Brett was captain of the football team, a member of the track team, vice president of his class, and leader and friend for all. He began his college experience at Roger Williams College, then continued to Stonehill College, where he got his BA in political science. Brett developed a love for student affairs through his work in residence life and began his professional career as a Residence Director. At that time, he received a MA in guidance and counseling at Providence College. Early in his career, he carried out his commitment to service in his work at Woodtrail Camp, Job Corps, and Street Peace. Brett was commissioned in 1992 as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Military Police Corps and served as a Citizen-Soldier in the Army National Guard for over 30 years. His key assignments included command of the 26th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (Yankee), 211th Military Police Battalion (First Corps of Cadets), and 772nd Military Police Company. Brett mobilized for overseas combat service twice, deploying to Iraq in 2002 and 2009. His military awards included the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, and Combat Action Badge.
After his first deployment, Brett joined the Natick Police Department. Deeply committed to the tenets of law enforcement and public safety, Brett proudly retired as a sergeant for the town he loved so dearly. When he wasn’t working, Brett adored being with his family and friends– coaching and volunteering in many organizations. He especially loved his work with the Veteran Association of the First Corps of Cadets and The Rotary Club of Natick. Brett poured his heart and soul into everything he pursued. He approached his professional and personal life with a fierce passion and vision. Whether championing those he loved, offering a helping hand, or savoring good drinks and food, Brett lived his life robustly with deep love. He believed in the best of humanity, with the ever-present inspiration of the great American experiment. Known for his unwavering enthusiasm and uncompromising tenacity, he will be remembered for his beautiful smile, kind spirit, and booming voice echoing, “Let’s go! Let’s go!”
He is survived by his high school sweetheart and the love of his life, Rhonda Garvin Conaway. He also leaves behind the lights of his life, his sons, to which he was truly the best and most loving father: Richard Conaway and Patrick Conaway. He is also survived by his adoring parents, Pat and Jane (Carney) Conaway, sister Miriam Morrison, brother Carlton Conaway, father in law Richard Garvin, and Mother in law Gerry (Healy) Garvin, brother in law Mark Garvin, his wife April (Tighe) Garvin, his son-in-law Graeme Reid, and his nieces & nephews Haley Garvin, Genevieve Morrison, Matthew Morrison, and Bowen Morrison, as well as a large extended family, friends, mentors, and colleagues, he touched during his short life.
Visiting Hours will be on Sunday, July 10th from 4pm to 8pm at the John Everett & Sons Funeral Home, 4 Park Street, Natick Common. A Celebration of Brett’s Life will take place on Monday, July 11th at 4pm in the Natick High School Auditorium, 15 West Street, Natick. The family asks that attendees wear red, white, or blue or a hint of. A private burial with military honors is planned at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Natick. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Brett’s memory to Home Base: Veteran and Family Care (www.homebase.org) or the Veteran Association of the First Corps of Cadets (www.vafcc.org).