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TONY Conway was 14 when he left school and Wodonga to work for stock and station agents Gippsland and Northern.
When he decided he wanted to return to Wodonga to play football, he found work around the city delivering ice and carting hay.
But in 1961 he realised a long-held ambition to open Conway’s Sports Store in High Street.
Ten years later he and his wife Monica saw the opportunity to buy the established funeral directors McCullough and Dunstan.
Last night the Conways were named as the recipients of the 2013 Hall of Fame award at the annual Albury-Wodonga Chamber Business Awards.
In 1971, the funeral directors business they bought was small, managing only nine funerals a year.
But during the next 40 years, the couple built Conway Funeral Home into a renowned business.
It now manages between 250 and 300 funerals a year, and sometimes as many as 12 a week.
They have seen many changes in funeral practice, including more funerals held in chapels rather than in churches and an increased preference for cremations over burials.
Mr and Mrs Conway retired in May 2011.
Mr Conway had been in business in Wodonga for 50 years.
The family’s sports store closed in 2007 after Mr Conway had been involved for 46 years.
Their son Nic, who had worked there full-time for 15 years, moved on to concentrate on his Kinross Woolshed Hotel at Thurgoona.
Last night’s award was presented by the editor of The Border Mail, Di Thomas.