LIVINGSTON, MT – Robert W. McConkey, Sr., of Livingston, Montana died Saturday, May 23, at Livingston Memorial Hospital. He was 84. Cremation has taken place at Franzen-Davis Crematory. A memorial service was held Friday, May 29 at Grace United Methodist Church, Livingston, Mont.
Robert was born December 31, 1924 to Clarence W. and Caroline (Woods) McConkey in Seattle, Wash. His parents passed away when he was young, so he was raised by his aunt Elsie and uncle Fred Woods on a cattle ranch near Kamloops, B.C. It was there that he learned to hunt, which became a life long passion. On December 7, 1941, when he was seventeen, Robert enlisted with the United States Navy. He became a tail gunner, and later a pilot of a PBY2A flying boat, in the South Pacific.
With his sharp shooting abilities, he scored many military hits and received several air medals. After his discharge, he returned to find that his uncle Fred had to sell his ranch, so Robert opened a small saw mill near Kamloops. Later he worked on the Grand Coolee Dam as a construction worker.
On June 24, 1953 he Married Helen Hofmann in Moscow, Id. The couple moved to Seattle where they opened South Seattle Auto Auction in 1954. First through struggles and then success, he owned and operated the auction for 31 years until its sale to GE Capital in 1985. An auto auction industry pioneer, he served as President of the National Auto Auction Association in 1976-77.
In 1997, Robert moved to Livingston for the hunting and fishing, and for a lifestyle closer to his roots in Kamloops. Always determined and persistent, he worked as a sales representative for DAA Northwest, his son Bob, Jr.’s auto auction in Spokane, traveling the state of Montana and bringing a chuckle and a smile to all of his car dealer friends. Robert will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Robert is survived by his wife Helen G. McConkey of Des Moines, Washington and four children, Robert McConkey, Jr. of Spokane, Washington, Fred McConkey of Hunts Point, Washington, Carol Christianson of Friday Harbor, Washington and Kathy Myers of Wailuku, Hawaii. Also surviving is his friend Carmen P. Gutknecht of Livingston, Montana, seven grandchildren, Fred, Jr., Angie, Ellie, Aaron, Brian and Collin McConkey and Kara Myers, one niece and two nephews. Robert was preceded in death by his parents and sister Patty.